Is electricity consumption in Europe increasing?

Policy Question
Indicator codes: ENER 038

Key messages

(13 Nov 2017)

In 2016, low-carbon energy sources (i.e. renewables and nuclear energy) continued to dominate the electricity mix for the second year in a row, together generating more power than fossil fuel sources.

  • Fossil fuels (i.e. coal, natural gas and oil) were responsible for 43 % of all gross electricity generation in 2016, a decrease of 11 percentage points across the EU compared with 2005 (54 %).
  • By way of contrast, the share of electricity generated from renewable sources has grown rapidly since 2005, but the pace of growth has slowed down after 2014. In 2016, renewable electricity reached almost one third (29 %) of all gross electricity generation in the EU. This is twice as much as in 2005. As such, renewable sources generated more electricity in 2016 than nuclear sources or coal and lignite.
  • Nuclear energy sources contributed roughly one quarter (26 %) of all gross electricity generation in 2016.

The transition from fossil fuels to renewable fuels, together with improved transformation efficiencies in electricity generation, led to an average annual 2.6 % decrease in CO2 emissions per kWh between 2005 and 2016.

Final electricity consumption (the total consumption of electricity by all end-use sectors plus electricity imports and minus exports) in the EU increased by one percent in 2016 compared with 2015, reaching the same level as in 2005. The sharpest growth was observed in the services sector (1.2 % per year) and the sharpest decline in industry (-1.0 % per year).

With regards to the non-EU EEA countries, between 2005 and 2016, electricity generation increased by an average of 4.9 % per year in Turkey, 7.1 % per year in Iceland and 0.7 % per year in Norway.

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