Primary energy consumption by fuel

Indicator Specification
Indicator codes: ENER 026
Created 05 Oct 2015 Published 21 Oct 2015 Last modified 17 Jan 2019
11 min read
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Primary energy consumption is defined as gross inland energy consumption minus the energy consumed for purposes other than producing useful energy (non-energy use, e.g. oil for plastics). Gross inland energy consumption represents the energy necessary to satisfy the inland energy consumption of a country. Gross inland consumption is calculated as follows: primary production + recovered products + total imports + variations of stocks - total exports - bunkers.

Assessment versions

Published (reviewed and quality assured)

Rationale

Justification for indicator selection

The composition of the energy mix in primary energy consumption provides 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, accumulation of radioactive waste, etc., strongly depend on the type and amount of fuel consumed as well as on the abatement technologies applied.

Scientific references

Indicator definition

Primary energy consumption is defined as gross inland energy consumption minus the energy consumed for purposes other than producing useful energy (non-energy use, e.g. oil for plastics). Gross inland energy consumption represents the energy necessary to satisfy the inland energy consumption of a country. Gross inland consumption is calculated as follows: primary production + recovered products + total imports + variations of stocks - total exports - bunkers.

Units

Energy consumption is measured in million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe). The share of each fuel in total energy consumption is presented in the form of a percentage.

Policy context and targets

Context description

Environmental context

The level, evolution and structure of primary energy consumption provide an indication of the extent to which environmental pressures caused by energy production and consumption are likely to diminish or not. This indicator displays data disaggregated by fuel type, as the associated environmental impacts are fuel specific.

The consumption of fossil fuels (such as crude oil, oil products, hard coal, lignite, and natural and derived gases) leads to resource depletion and emissions of greenhouse gases as well as emissions of air pollutants (e.g. SO2 and NOX). This, in turn, has negative consequences for public health and biodiversity. The degree of environmental impact depends on the relative share of different fossil fuels and the extent to which pollution abatement measures are used. Natural gas, for instance, has approximately 40 % less carbon than coal per unit of energy content, and 25 % less carbon content than oil, and contains only marginal quantities of sulphur.

Increasing the consumption of nuclear energy at the expense of fossil fuels contributes to greenhouse gas emission reduction, but comes with safety and nuclear waste issues.

Renewable energy consumption is more environmentally benign, as the exploitation of renewables does not give rise to greenhouse gas emissions (except land-use change issues related to biomass and emissions related to the use of non-renewable energy during the construction of renewable energy installations). Renewables usually lead to significantly lower levels of air pollutants (except when related to biomass applications). Renewable energy can, however, affect landscapes and ecosystems (e.g. wind turbines severely affect the landscape and much land is needed for the production of biomass, which may have an impact on biodiversity).

 

Policy context

  • Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 2012/27/EU on energy efficiency (COM/2016/0761 final — 2016/0376 (COD))

On 30 November 2016, the Commission proposed an update to the Energy Efficiency Directive, including a new 30 % energy efficiency target for 2030, and measures to update the directive with the objective to meet the new target.

  • Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 2010/31/EU on the energy performance of buildings (COM/2016/0765 final — 2016/0381 (COD))
  • Directive 2012/27/EU

Directive 2012/27/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 on energy efficiency, amending Directives 2009/125/EC and 2010/30/EU and repealing Directives 2004/8/EC and 2006/32/EC.

Council Directive 2013/12/EU of 13 May 2013 adapting Directive 2012/27/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council on energy efficiency, by reason of the accession of the Republic of Croatia.

Directive 2010/31/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 May 2010 on the energy performance of buildings (recast).

The Ecodesign Directive is a framework directive: it does not set binding requirements on products by itself, but through implementing measures adopted on a case-by-case basis for each product group. All guiding principles for developing implementing measures are set in Directive 2009/125/EC. The list of product groups to be addressed through implementing measures is established in the periodic working plan. Standardisation supports the implementation of the Ecodesign Directive (notably through harmonised standards giving presumption of conformity with all or some Ecodesign Directive legal requirements).

Regulation (EC) No 443/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council setting emission performance standards for new passenger cars as part of the community's integrated approach to reduce CO2 emissions from light-duty vehicles.

Regulation (EU) No 510/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council setting emission performance standards for new light commercial vehicles as part of the Union's integrated approach to reduce CO2 emissions from light-duty vehicles.

The Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) is the successor of the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) Directive and, in essence, it concerns minimising pollution from various industrial sources throughout the EU. Operators of industrial installations operating activities covered by Annex I to the IED are required to obtain an integrated permit from the authorities in the EU countries. About 50 000 installations were covered by the IPPC Directive and the IED will cover some new activities, which could mean that the number of installations covered will rise slightly.

Directive 2010/30/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 May 2010 on the indication by labelling and standard product information of the consumption of energy and other resources by energy-related products.

Directive 2009/28/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources and amending and subsequently repealing Directives 2001/77/EC and 2003/30/EC.

Directive 2008/101/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 2003/87/EC so as to include aviation activities in the scheme for greenhouse gas emission allowance trading within the Community.

Directive 2009/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 2003/87/EC so as to improve and extend the greenhouse gas emission allowance trading scheme of the Community.

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee, the Committee of the Regions and the European Investment Bank 'A framework strategy for a resilient energy union with a forward-looking climate change policy' (COM(2015) 80 final, 25 February 2015).

The Energy Union Package establishes a framework strategy for a resilient energy union with a forward-looking climate policy. It includes a roadmap that sets actions for security of supply, the internal energy market, energy efficiency, greenhouse gases and research and innovation.  

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions 'An EU Strategy on Heating and Cooling' (COM(2016) 51 final, 16 February 2016).

With its 'Roadmap for moving to a competitive low-carbon economy in 2050', the European Commission is looking beyond the 2020 objectives and setting out a plan to meet the long-term target of reducing domestic emissions by 80 to 95 % by the middle of the century as agreed by European heads of state and governments. It shows how the sectors responsible for Europe's emissions — power generation, industry, transport, buildings and construction, as well as agriculture — can make the transition to a low-carbon economy over the coming decades.

  • COM(2010) 639 — Energy 2020: A strategy for competitive, sustainable and secure energy

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee, the Committee of the Regions 'Energy 2020: A strategy for competitive, sustainable and secure energy' (COM(2010) 639 final).

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council 'European Energy Security Strategy' (COM(2014) 330 final, 28 May 2014). This describes the EU strategy to ensure that energy supplies are uninterrupted and energy prices remain stable.

Targets

Directive 2012/27/EU on energy efficiency establishes a common framework of measures for the promotion of energy efficiency within the EU in order to achieve the headline target of a 20 % reduction in primary energy consumption. The EU-28 target is to limit primary energy consumption to 1 483 Mtoe by 2020. Member States are requested to set indicative targets. In 2016, taken together, the sum of all individual Member States' 2020 targets for primary energy consumption was 1 533 Mtoe, which is 3 % higher than the 2020 target defined for the EU under the Energy Efficiency Directive (1 483 Mtoe).

Related policy documents

  • COM(2015) 80 final - A Framework Strategy for a Resilient Energy Union with a Forward-Looking Climate Change Policy
    Energy Union Package, Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee, the Committee of the Regions and the European Investment Bank "A Framework Strategy for a Resilient Energy Union with a Forward-Looking Climate Change Policy", COM(2015) 80 final, 25 February 2015. Energy Union Package establishes a Framework Strategy for a Resilient Energy Union with a Forward-Looking Climate Policy. 

Key policy question

What are the trends in the energy mix in gross inland energy consumption in Europe?

Methodology

Methodology for indicator calculation

Technical information

  1. Geographical coverage:
    The EEA had 33 member countries at the time of writing this indicator. These are the 28 EU Member States and Turkey, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
  2. Methodology and frequency of data collection:
    Data are collected annually.
    Eurostat definitions for energy statistics: https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/cache/metadata/de/nrg_quant_esms.htm
  3. Methodology of data manipulation:
    Average annual rate of growth is calculated using the following: [(last year/base year) ^ (1/number of years) - 1]*100.
  4. Coding (used in the Eurostat database) and specific components of the indicator:
  • B_100900 — Gross inland consumption — All products
  • B_100900 — Gross inland consumption — Solid fuels
  • B_100900 — Gross inland consumption — Total petroleum products
  • B_100900 — Gross inland consumption — Gas
  • B_100900 — Gross inland consumption — Nuclear heat
  • B_100900 — Gross inland consumption — Electrical energy
  • B_100900 — Gross inland consumption — Derived heat
  • B_100900 — Gross inland consumption — Renewable energies
  • B_100900 — Gross inland consumption — Waste (non-renewable)
  • B_101600 — Final Non-energy consumption — All products
  • B_101600 — Final Non-energy consumption — Solid fuels
  • B_101600 — Final Non-energy consumption — Total petroleum products
  • B_101600 — Final Non-energy consumption — Gas
  • B_101600 — Final Non-energy consumption — Renewable energies

 These data are extracted from Eurostat datasets nrg_100a and nrg_108a.

Qualitative information

Overall scoring — historical data (1 = no major problems, 3 = major reservations):

  • Relevance: 1
  • Accuracy: 1
  • Comparability over time: 1      
  • Comparability over space: 1

Methodology for gap filling

No gap filling necessary

Methodology references

No methodology references available.

Data specifications

EEA data references

  • No datasets have been specified here.

External data references

Data sources in latest figures

Uncertainties

Methodology uncertainty

The proportion of a particular fuel in total energy consumption could decrease even if the actual amount of energy derived from that fuel increases, as the proportion for a particular fuel depends on the change in its consumption relative to the total consumption of energy.

From an environmental point of view, however, the relative contribution of each fuel has to be considered in the wider context. Absolute (as opposed to relative) volumes of energy consumption for each fuel are the key to understanding environmental pressures. These depend on the total amount of energy consumed, as well as on the fuel mix used and the extent to which pollution abatement technologies are used.

Gross inland energy consumption may not accurately represent the energy needs of a country in terms of final energy demand. Fuel switching may, in some cases, have a significant effect on gross inland energy consumption even if there is no change in final energy demand. 

Data sets uncertainty

Officially reported data, updated annually. No obvious weaknesses.

Data have traditionally been compiled by Eurostat through the annual joint questionnaires of Eurostat and the International Energy Agency, following a well-established and harmonised methodology. Methodological information on the annual joint questionnaires and data compilation can be found on Eurostat's web page for metadata on energy statistics (https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/cache/metadata/de/nrg_quant_esms.htm).

In circumstances where data for one or more of the non-EU EEA countries are unavailable, these data are left out of total amounts for non-EU EEA countries or for EEA countries as a whole.

Rationale uncertainty

The composition of the energy mix in gross inland energy consumption provides 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, accumulation of radioactive waste, etc., strongly depend on the type and amount of fuel consumed, as well as on the abatement technologies applied.

Further work

Short term work

Work specified here requires to be completed within 1 year from now.

Long term work

Work specified here will require more than 1 year (from now) to be completed.

General metadata

Responsibility and ownership

EEA Contact Info

Stephanie Schilling

Ownership

European Environment Agency (EEA)

Identification

Indicator code
ENER 026
Specification
Version id: 4
Primary theme: Energy Energy

Frequency of updates

Updates are scheduled once per year

Classification

DPSIR: Driving force
Typology: Descriptive indicator (Type A - What is happening to the environment and to humans?)

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