Primary and final energy consumption in Europe

The Covid-19 pandemic had a profound impact on energy consumption in the European Union. In 2020, the EU’s primary energy consumption (for all energy uses) experienced a historical drop following 2 years of moderate reductions. Final energy consumption (by end users) also saw a significant decrease, albeit less pronounced. This contributed to the EU meeting their 2020 energy efficiency targets for both primary and final energy consumption. A rebound must be avoided; and long-term reductions remain necessary to achieve the EU’s energy and climate objectives for 2030 and 2050.

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Share of energy consumption from renewable sources in Europe

With a 21.3% share of energy consumed from renewable sources in 2020, the EU has reached its headline target (20%) for 2020, according to EEA early estimates. This success builds upon years of consistent work by all Member States, even if national progress is uneven. The exceptional circumstances of 2020, marked by disruptions in all economic sectors due to the pandemic, have facilitated meeting the renewable energy target by lowering total energy consumption. An unprecedented transformation in the energy system will still be necessary to meet the 32% renewable energy target set for 2030.

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Greenhouse gas emission intensity of fuels and biofuels for road transport in Europe

In 2019, the EU was not on track to meet its target to reduce the greenhouse gas emission intensity of fuels sold for road transport to 6% below 2010 levels by 2020. Between 2010 and 2019, emission intensity decreased by 4.3%, mostly due to the increased use of biofuels. Finland and Sweden are the only Member States whose emission intensities decreased by more than 6%, with the Netherlands reporting a 5.8% reduction in 2019. If the indirect land use change (ILUC) effects of biofuel production are considered, the emission intensity of fuels sold in the EU also decreased between 2018 and 2019, due to the limited substitution of oil crops as feedstocks by sugars.

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Use of renewable energy for transport in Europe

The share of energy from renewable sources used for transport in the EU increased from under 2% in 2005 to almost 9% in 2019. Preliminary EEA data indicate that in 2020, this increased further to 10.1%. This suggests that collectively the EU countries reached the 10% target for share of energy from renewable sources in all forms of transport. However, EEA preliminary estimates show that this target was actually achieved by less than half of EU Member States.

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Greenhouse gas emission intensity of electricity generation in Europe

The greenhouse gas emission intensity of power generation in the EU has been continuously decreasing over the last three decades: generating 1 kilowatt hour in 2020 emitted, on average, half as much CO 2 as in 1990. Policies have been playing an important role in driving this shift towards less carbon-intensive energy sources, in particular those addressing climate change, renewable energy supply and efficient energy use, and industrial emissions. The Covid-19 pandemic hardly affected electricity use in 2020, but the continued growth of renewable electricity caused a further drop in the greenhouse gas emission intensity of electricity generation.

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Emissions and energy use in large combustion plants in Europe

Between 2004 and 2019, emissions from large combustion plants in the EU decreased: SO 2 by 89%, nitrogen oxides by 60% and dust by 88%. Declines in emissions and improvements in environmental performance were largely driven by European policy, which sets legally binding emission limit values. The amount of fossil fuels used decreased by 23%, as energy production shifts to climate-friendly sources. Stricter emission limit values and policies aimed at increasing the use of renewable or cleaner fuels are expected to drive further declines in combustion plant emissions in coming years.

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