Electricity and heat statistics

Data from June 2017. Most recent data: Further Eurostat information, Main tables and Database. Planned article update: June 2018.

This article provides an overview on the production and consumption of electricity and derived heat in the European Union (EU). The figures are based on the annual data provided by the Member States. Detailed data are available for the period 1990 – 2015. In addition data are also available for 11 non-EU countries. The article also presents a simplified electricity and derived heat balance as well as trade data and some derived indicators of consumption linking to population and GDP.

Table 1: Gross electricity production by fuel, GWh, EU-28, 1990-2015
Source: Eurostat (nrg_105a)
Figure 1: Gross electricity production by fuel, GWh, EU-28, 1990-2015
Source: Eurostat (nrg_105a)
Figure 2: Gross electricity production by fuel, GWh, EU-28, 1990-2015
Source: Eurostat (nrg_105a)
Table 2: Maximum electrical capacity, MW, EU-28, 1990-2015
Source: Eurostat (nrg_113a)
Table 3: Electricity consumption and trade, 2015
Source: Eurostat (nrg_105a)
Table 4: Gross derived heat production by fuel, TJ, EU-28, 1990-2015
Source: Eurostat (nrg_106a)
Figure 3: Gross derived heat production by fuel, TJ, EU-28, 1990-2015
Source: Eurostat (nrg_106a)
Figure 4: Gross derived heat production by fuel, TJ, EU-28, 1990-2015
Source: Eurostat (nrg_106a)
Table 5: Simplified balance for electricity and derived heat, ktoe, EU-28, 2015
Source: Eurostat (nrg_110a)
Figure 5: Consumption of electricity by sector, GWh, EU-28, 1990-2015
Source: Eurostat (nrg_105a)
Figure 6: Households consumption of electricity per capita, MWh per capita, 2015
Source: Eurostat (nrg_105a), (demo_pjan)
Figure 7: Final consumption of electricity per GDP (PPS), kWh per 1000 EUR (PPS), 2015
Source: Eurostat (nrg_105a), (nama_10_gdp)

Main statistical findings

Gross electricity production in the EU-28 increased from 2 595 TWh in 1990 to its peak of 3 387 TWh in 2008. In 2015 the gross electricity production was increasing only slightly compared to 2014 with 1.4 % and reached 3 234 TWh, but shows a decrease of 4.5 % compared with the 2008 peak value. In 2015 renewable energy sources were the highest contributor to electricity production, surpassing solid fossil fuels (coal) and nuclear energy. Since 1990 the electricity generation from renewable energy sources nearly tripled. Compared to 5 years ago electricity production from renewable sources increased by 36 %.

Production of electricity

Total gross electricity production in 2015 in the EU-28 did not continue the decreasing trend of recent years and was 3 234 TWh. Following the 4.9 % decrease from 2008 to 2009, there was almost a full recovery in 2010, but since 2010 the production is decreasing with exception of 2015 where it is slightly increasing (Figure 1).

The highest share of electricity in 2015 was produced in power plants using renewable energy sources (29.9 %), followed by nuclear power plants (26.5 %) and coal fired power plants (24.5 %). Lower shares were noticed for gas[1] (16.4 %), oil[2] (1.9 %) and non-renewable wastes (0.7 %). The detailed data on gross electricity production by fuel are shown in Table 1 and Figure 2.

There have been significant changes in the contribution of renewable energy sources to electricity production over the last two decades. In 1990, slightly more than 94 % of renewable electricity was produced from hydro energy, a share which dropped to 38.4 % in 2015. Note however that in 2015 the amount of hydro-electricity was 20 % higher than in 1990. The other important renewable energy sources in electricity production in 2015 were wind (31.3 %), solar photo-voltaic (10.6 %), solid biofuels (9.4 %) and biogases (6.3 %).

A time series of data for gross electricity production by fuels are presented in Table 1, Figure 1 (cumulated area chart) and Figure 2 (line chart). Since 1990 electricity generation from renewable energy sources has almost tripled in volume and is the only source which also continued to grow after 2008. Coal fired power plants in 2015 were at the lowest level of electricity production in the EU-28 since 1990. Electricity generated from natural gas expanded from 193 TWh in 1990 to its peak of 790 TWh in 2008. However, by 2015the electricity generation from natural gas decreased to 497 TWh. The trend in electricity production in nuclear power plants shows a peak in 2004 with moderate trends of increase from 1990 to 2004 (+27 %) and a decrease from 2004 to 2015 (-15 %).

Installed electrical capacity

The installed electrical capacity in the EU-28 is presented in Table 2. It increased by 74.3 % in the period from 1990 to 2015. Its structure changed significantly over this period. In 1990 the highest share of installed capacity was accounted for by combustible fuels (57 %), followed by nuclear (21 %) and hydro (21 %), with all others at less than 1 %.

When the situation in 2015 is compared to previous decades, the share of installed capacity of combustible fuels decreased to 47 %, the share of hydro to 16 % and the share of nuclear to 12 %. On the other hand, the share of wind increased to 14 % and the share of solar to 10 %, while geothermal and tide, wave and ocean remained negligible.

Import and export of electricity

On the overall EU-28 level, net imports of electricity in 2015 were less than 1% of the electricity consumption by end-users. However, there is quite a difference between various EU Member States. While Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary and Malta are net importers for 77 %, 90 %, 38 % and 50 % respectively, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Sweden are net exporters for 37 %, 23 % and 18 % respectively. Only disconnected islands show no trade of electricity (Cyprus and Iceland).

In 2015 the biggest net importers of electricity were Italy, Belgium and the United Kingdom, while France, Germany and Sweden were the biggest net exporters of electricity (Table 3).

Derived heat production

EU-28 total gross production of derived heat in 2015 was nearly 2.4 million TJ. The highest share of heat was produced from natural gas (37 %), followed by other bituminous coal (18 %) and solid biomass (16 %). The detailed data on gross heat production by fuel are shown in Table 4 and Figures 3 and 4.

Production of derived heat from coal continued its long term decreasing trend: since 1990 it decreased by 57 % and reached a record low of 624 561 TJ in 2015. Oil products showed a similar trend for heat production: since 1990 a decrease of 78 % with a record low of 104 298  TJ in 2015. While natural gas significantly increased and peaked in 2005, it decreased by 23 % by 2015. However in 2015 natural gas was still 62 % above its 1990 level. Renewable energy continues its long term increasing trend. Since 1990 heat produced from renewable sources increased by 633 %, however in total renewable energy sources contribute only 23 % to total derived heat generation. Derived heat from nuclear power plants plays only a very minor role due to its specific technology.

Consumption of electricity and derived heat

Electricity grids and distribution systems of derived heat are at any time in balance and all energy produced needs to be consumed in one way or another. While there are transmission and distribution losses, the overall consumption pattern very closely follows the production pattern.

In the EU-28 the consumption of electricity increased significantly during the 90’s but stabilized over the last 10 years. Final energy consumption of derived heat has stayed at the same level over time. Residential and services sectors are responsible for the growth in electricity consumption, while consumption in the transport sector remained stable over the years. Consumption of electricity in the industrial sector follows the economic cycle.

The consumption of electricity by selected sectors (Figure 5) shows that electricity consumption in the service sector almost doubled in the period from 1990 to 2015 (+89 %), while electricity consumption in the residential sector increased by 31 % during the same period. While in 1990 electricity consumption of households was 37.9% higher than that of the services, in recent years the electricity consumption of the service sector has exceeded the electricity consumption in households.

In 2015 electricity consumption in the industry sector was nearly 1 million GWh, in the service and residential sectors nearly 840 000 GWh and 796 000 GWh respectively and in the transport sector over 62 000 GWh.

The detailed data on electricity and derived heat production and consumption for 2015 are also presented in the simplified electricity and heat balance in Table 5.

Simplified electricity and derived heat balance

The simplified electricity and derived heat balance is derived from the complete energy balance and presents the most relevant flows for electricity and derived heat - their production and consumption in 2015 (Table 5). All data in the simplified electricity and heat balance for the EU-28 are presented in a common energy units (ktoe - kilo tons of oil equivalent). The simplified balance presents in the first part fuel inputs to electricity and heat production, in the second part the electricity and heat produced and in the third part the consumption, with greater detail especially for consumption by industry sectors.

Consumption of electricity per capita in the residential sector

Electricity consumption per capita in the residential sector in the EU-28 in 2015 was 1.6 MWh per capita (1 564 kWh). The range of electricity consumption per capita in the residential sector in the EU Member States in 2015 varied widely, from consumptions below 1 MWh per capita in Romania, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovakia, to consumptions of over 3 MWh per capita in Finland and Sweden (Figure 6).

Looking on electricity consumption per capita in the residential sector in non-EU countries, an even wider range is observed: from 0.5 MWh in Moldova to 7.2 MWh in Norway. The range is affected by the choice of energy used for space heating, the climate conditions in countries as well as the level of economic development of countries.

Consumption of electricity per unit of GDP

Electricity consumption per unit of GDP (using Purchasing Power Standards) in the EU-28 in 2015 was 186 kWh per 1000 EUR (Figure 7). The amount of electricity consumed per unit of GDP depends on many factors, starting from the general standard of living, the economy and weather conditions as well as energy efficiency of buildings and appliances. Using GDP in Purchasing Power Standards allows for better comparison across countries in one year.

The EU Member States with the lowest electricity consumption per unit of GDP in 2015 were Ireland, Romania, Luxembourg and Denmark. The highest rates of electricity consumption per unit of GDP were registered in Finland, Sweden and Bulgaria. Figure 7 shows also data for non-EU countries with lowest in Turkey and highest in Iceland (limited to countries where GDP in Purchasing Power Standards is available).

Data sources and availability

Data on energy are submitted on the basis of an internationally agreed methodology in joint annual energy questionnaires (Eurostat - OECD/IEA - UNECE). Data are available for all EU-28 Member States and the methodology is harmonised for all reporting countries. Consequently, data comparability across countries is very high.

Methodological note

According to the purpose of production, power plants can be classified as main activity producers (enterprises, both privately or publicly owned, which generate electricity and/or heat for sale to third parties as their principal activity) and autoproducers (enterprises, both privately or publicly owned, which generate electricity and/or heat wholly or partly for their own use as an activity which supports their primary activity). Both main activity producers and autoproducers can produce only electricity, a combination of heat and electricity (CHP) or heat only.

Detailed data on gross electricity production by fuel and by main activity producers and autoproducers, as well as CHP main activity producers and CHP autoproducers are presented in Eurostat's energy database.

Derived heat includes heat produced in main activity producer plants and heat sold produced in autoproducer plants. Heat produced at the final place of consumption in the final consumption sectors (such as households) is not counted as the final energy consumption of "derived heat"; it is counted as the final energy consumption of the respective fuel (electricity, natural gas, etc.).

Gross electricity production is the total amount of electricity produced in power plants. Power plants consume some electricity for their own use; by deducting the own use of power plants from gross electricity production net electricity production is obtained. Net electricity production is transmitted and distributed via grids to final consumers.

Context

Energy statistics are in the spotlight due to the strategic importance of energy on the agenda of competitive and sustainable economic growth. In recent years, the European Union has faced several significant issues that have pushed energy towards the top of national and European political agendas. In this respect, energy statistics have provided crucial information for policy makers.

Modern societies are dependent on electricity. Maintaining reliable and secure electricity services underpins economic growth and community prosperity. Derived heat plays a significant role in the supply of district heating in several countries in Europe. It is particularly widespread in North, Central and Eastern Europe.

See also

Further Eurostat information

Publications

Main tables

Energy statistics - main indicators (t_nrg_indic)
Energy statistics - quantities (t_nrg_quant)

Database

Energy statistics - main indicators (nrg_indic)

Dedicated section

Methodology / Metadata

Source data for tables, figures and maps (MS Excel)

Other information

External links

Notes

  1. Gas includes natural gas and derived gases; and excludes biogas included in renewable energy sources.
  2. Oil includes crude oil and petroleum products.