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Indicator Assessment

Primary and final energy consumption in Europe

Indicator Assessment
Prod-ID: IND-16-en
  Also known as: ENER 016
Published 09 Sep 2021 Last modified 09 Sep 2021
6 min read

The EU has been facing difficulties in reducing its energy consumption and was at risk of not meeting its 2020 energy efficiency target. In 2019, the EU’s primary energy consumption (for all energy uses) decreased for the second consecutive year. Final energy consumption (by end users) saw only a modest decrease, hampered by growing energy use in transport. The COVID-19 pandemic is expected to have significantly reduced energy consumption in 2020. However, substantial changes in the energy system remain necessary to achieve the EU’s energy and climate neutrality objectives by 2050.

Primary and final energy consumption in the European Union

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Table
Data sources:

The EU final energy consumption (FEC) saw a slight decrease of 0.6% between 2018 and 2019, according to Eurostat Energy Balances (Eurostat, 2021). This represents an improvement after 5 years of increase and stagnation. However, the FEC value reached in 2019 (983 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe)) remains comparable to 2011 levels, higher than the minimum achieved in 2014.

The reported reduction in FEC in industry (3.3 Mtoe) and buildings (4.5 Mtoe) in 2019 was partially offset by an increase in the transport sector (2.8 Mtoe), similar to the pattern observed throughout the time series. Energy efficiency measures, combined with a shift towards a more service-oriented economy, are driving a decline in consumption in industry. In buildings, energy efficiency improvements outweigh the increasing number of appliances and increasing floor areas. However, higher energy consumption in transport is slowing down overall progress.

Primary energy consumption (PEC) shows a similar long-term trend to FEC, but with a longer and more pronounced downward trend. Between 2018 and 2019, PEC decreased by 1.9%, driven by a formidable drop of 20% in the consumption of solid fossil fuels. The replacement of fossil fuels by renewables in electricity generation can reduce PEC, and the share of renewable energy in the EU has doubled since 2005. Various other factors have influenced the demand for primary energy, such as energy saving measures, transformation improvements, economic activity and a changing climate.

These historic energy consumption trends suggest that the EU will not meet its energy efficiency targets by 2020. PEC in 2019 was still 3.3% above the 2020 target and FEC 2.7% above. However, measures adopted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic have had a profound effect on the European economy and are expected to result in a reduction in energy consumption for 2020. In the absence of full statistics for 2020, it is still uncertain if the EU met its energy efficiency target of a 20% decrease in energy consumption compared with projected levels by 2020. Even if it does, COVID-related reductions are likely to be short lived unless backed by structural changes. Member States need to make more effort to curb energy consumption if the EU is to meet its current 32.5% target by 2030 and the overall goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.

Energy consumption of EU Member States and their 2020 targets

Note: The chart shows the change in energy consumption of EU Member States in 2019 compared to 2005, and their 2020 targets.

According to Eurostat, 17 Member States reduced their FEC between 2018 and 2019, with Latvia and Slovenia reducing FEC the most. Only 7 Member States saw reductions in all three sectors considered (industry, transport and other). Twenty Member States saw a decrease in PEC between 2018 and 2019, with Estonia in particular achieving very large reductions in the consumption of oil shale.

Looking at longer-term trends, 19 Member States have decreased their FEC since 2005, and 24 have decreased their PEC. Reductions have been greatest in Greece and Italy, with both FEC and PEC being at least 15% lower in 2019 than in 2005. Lithuania presents a contrasting situation: a large increase (19%) in FEC since 2005 was coupled with an even larger reduction (22%) in PEC. This can be explained by an increase in consumption from end users, combined with a decrease in power generation from nuclear and fossil fuels in favour of renewables.

Target values, and progress towards them, vary greatly among countries. Fourteen Member States met their FEC 2020 targets by 2019, with Greece and Romania meeting the targets by the largest margin. For PEC, the number is also 14, with Estonia and Romania leading.

Supporting information

Indicator definition

This indicator shows final and primary energy consumption for the 27 Member States of the EU from 2005 to 2019, and their distance to target. Underlying disaggregated data on sectoral and fuel compositions were used in the assessment discussion.

In simplified terms, FEC represents the energy used by final consumers for all energy uses. It is the energy that reaches the final consumer’s door. PEC represents the total energy demand within a country, excluding the energy products consumed for purposes other than producing useful energy (non-energy uses, e.g. oil for plastics). For example, the electricity consumed by a household counts towards FEC; the fuel burned to generate that electricity counts towards PEC.

Units

Million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe)


 

Policy context and targets

Context description

Directive 2012/27/EU established a set of binding measures to help the EU reach its target of decreasing energy consumption by 20% by 2020, compared with projected levels. This was amended by Directive (EU) 2018/2002, which provides a policy framework for 2030 and beyond. This regulatory framework includes an energy efficiency target for the EU for 2030 of a 32.5% reduction in energy consumption compared with projected levels, which is being revised.

The amending of the directive was part of the comprehensive clean energy for all Europeans package, which aims to facilitate the transition away from fossil fuels towards cleaner energy and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The composition of the energy mix and the level of consumption provide an indication of the environmental pressures associated with energy consumption. The type and magnitude of the environmental impacts associated with energy consumption, such as resource depletion, greenhouse gas emissions, air pollutant emissions, water pollution and the accumulation of radioactive waste, strongly depend on the types and amounts of fuels consumed, as well as on the abatement technologies applied.

Targets

No targets has been defined for this indicator

Related policy documents

No related policy documents have been specified

 

Methodology

Methodology for indicator calculation

To ensure comparability with energy efficiency targets, this indicator follows the Eurostat methodology for final energy consumption (Europe 2020-2030) [FEC2020-2030] and primary energy consumption (Europe 2020-2030) [PEC2020-2030].

Primary energy consumption (Europe 2020-2030) = gross inland consumption (all products total) - gross inland consumption (ambient heat (heat pumps)) - final non-energy consumption (all products total)

Final energy consumption (Europe 2020-2030) = final energy consumption (all products total) - final energy consumption (ambient heat (heat pumps)) + international aviation (all products total) + transformation input blast furnaces (all products total) - transformation output blast furnaces (all products total) + energy sector blast furnaces (solid fossil fuels) + energy sector blast furnaces (manufactured gases) + energy sector blast furnaces (peat and peat products) + energy sector blast furnaces (oil shale and oil sands) + energy sector blast furnaces (oil and petroleum products) + energy sector blast furnaces (Natural gas).

Data set used: 'Complete energy balances nrg_bal_c'

Codes:

      • FEC2020-2030 Final energy consumption (Europe 2020-2030)/all products
      • PEC2020-2030 Primary energy consumption (Europe 2020-2030)/all products
      • GIC Gross inland consumption/all products
      • NRG_BF_E Energy sector — blast furnaces — energy use/all products
      • FC_NE Final non-energy consumption/all products
      • FC_TRA_E Final consumption — transport sector — energy use/renewables and biofuels
      • FC_E Final consumption — energy use/ambient heat
      • PPRD Primary production/ambient heat

Details about this methodology are available from Eurostat at: ENERGY BALANCE GUIDE (Draft 31 January 2019) 

The time series for the EU-27 was made by summing the values for each year of the 27 countries that are currently Member States, regardless of whether they were members of the EU in any given year.

Methodology for gap filling

Data gap filling is not necessary 

Methodology references

No methodology references available.

 

Uncertainties

Methodology uncertainty

No uncertainty has been specified

Data sets uncertainty

No uncertainty has been specified

Rationale uncertainty

No uncertainty has been specified

Data sources

Other info

DPSIR: Driving force
Typology: Efficiency indicator (Type C - Are we improving?)
Indicator codes
  • ENER 016
EEA Contact Info info@eea.europa.eu

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