Electricity and heat statistics

Data extracted in July 2020.

Planned article update: August 2021.


Highlights

In 2018, the gross electricity production in the EU showed only a slight decrease of 0.5 % compared with 2017, at 2 941 TWh.

Gross electricity production by fuel, EU-27, 2000-2018

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. Eurostat's energy statistics contain data as from 1990 for all Member States and 14 non-EU countries. This article focuses primarily on data for the EU between 2000 and 2018. 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.

Full article

General overview

Gross electricity production in the EU increased from 2 657 TWh in 2000 to its peak of 2 995 TWh in 2008. In 2018, the gross electricity production decreased only slightly compared with 2017 by 0.5 % and reached 2 941 TWh, but showed a decrease of 1.8 % compared with the 2008 peak value.

In 2018 renewable energy sources were the largest contributor to electricity production, surpassing natural gas and manufactured gases, solid fossil fuels (coal) and nuclear energy. Since 2000, the electricity generation from renewable energy sources more than doubled (from 436 to 969 TWh). Compared with 5 years ago, electricity production from renewable sources increased by 15.9 %.

Production of electricity

Total gross electricity production in 2018 in the EU did not follow the increasing trend of recent years and was 2 941 TWh in 2018. Following the 5.1 % decrease from 2008 to 2009, there was almost a full recovery in 2010. From 2010, the production decreased until 2015, when it began to slightly increase once again (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Gross electricity production by fuel, EU-27, 2000-2018
(GWh)
Source: Eurostat (nrg_bal_peh)

The highest share of electricity in 2018 was produced in power plants using renewable energy sources (32.9 %), followed by nuclear power plants (25.9 %), coal fired power plants (20.2 %) and gas fired plants[1] (17.8 %). Lower shares were noticed for oil[2] (1.9 %) and non-renewable wastes (0.7 %). The detailed data on gross electricity production by fuel are shown in Table 1.

Table 1: Gross electricity production by fuel, EU-27, 2000-2018
(GWh)
Source: Eurostat (nrg_bal_peh)

There have been significant changes in the contribution of the different renewable energy sources to electricity production over the last two decades. In 2000, 87.0 % of renewable electricity was produced from hydro energy, a share which dropped to 38.3 % in 2018. Other renewable energy sources with large shares in electricity production in 2018 were wind (33.1 %), solar photo-voltaic (11.4 %), primary solid biofuels (7.8 %) and biogases (5.7 %).

The time series for gross electricity production by fuel is presented in Figure 1. Since 2000 electricity generation from renewable energy sources has more than doubled and it is the only source which continued to grow after 2008 (with only a small decrease in 2011). The electricity production of coal fired power plants in 2018 was at its lowest level in the EU since 2000. Electricity generated from natural gas increased from 363 TWh in 2000 to its peak of 648 TWh in 2008. However, by 2014 the electricity generation from natural gas decreased to 389 TWh and began to increase once again from 2015 to 2017, followed by a small decrease in 2018, reaching 523 TWh. The trend of electricity production from nuclear power plants shows a peak in 2004, with a moderate increase from 2000 to 2004 (+8.0 %) and a decrease from 2004 to 2018 (-17.9 %).

Installed electrical capacity

The installed electrical capacity in the EU is presented in Table 2. It increased by 51.6 % in the period from 2000 to 2018. Its structure changed significantly over this period. In 2000, the highest share of installed capacity was accounted for combustible fuels (55.5 %), followed by hydro (22.0 %), nuclear (20.4 %) and wind (2.0 %), with all others at less than 2.0 %. In 2018, the share of installed capacity of combustible fuels decreased to 43.5 %, the share of hydro to 16.2 % and the share of nuclear to 12.0 %. On the other hand, the share of wind increased to 16.9 % and the share of solar to 11.2 %, while geothermal and tide, wave and ocean remained negligible.

Table 2: Maximum electrical capacity, EU-27, 2000-2018
(MW)
Source: Eurostat (nrg_inf_epc)

Import and export of electricity

At an overall EU level, net imports of electricity in 2018 represented only 0.3 % of the electricity consumption by end-users. However, there are significant differences between various EU Member States. Having a close look at the relative shares of electricity consumption, the net imports of electricity in Luxembourg represented 95.9 % of electricity consumption, in Lithuania 85.4 %, in Hungary 35.3 %, in Croatia 32.4 % and in Malta 26.0 %, while the percentages of net exports of electricity in Bulgaria were 24.9 %, in Estonia 23.8 %, in Czechia 23.3 %, in France 14.1 % and in Sweden 13.2 %.

In 2018, the biggest net importers of electricity in absolute values were Italy, Finland and Belgium, while Germany, France and Sweden were the biggest net exporters of electricity (Table 3).

Table 3: Electricity consumption and trade, 2018
(GWh)
Source: Eurostat (nrg_nrg_cb_e)

Derived heat production

EU total gross production of derived heat in 2018 was 636 TWh. The highest share of heat was produced from natural gas and manufactured gases (37.7 %), followed by renewable energies (28.1 %) and solid fossil fuels (23.2 %). The detailed data on gross heat production by fuel are shown in Table 4 and Figure 2.

Table 4: Gross derived heat generation by fuel, EU-27, 2000-2018
(GWh)
Source: Eurostat (nrg_nrg_bal_peh)


Figure 2: Gross derived heat production by fuel, EU-27, 2000-2018
(GWh)
Source: Eurostat (nrg_bal_peh)

Production of derived heat from solid fossil fuels continued its long term decreasing trend: since 2000 it decreased by 30.0 % and reached a record low of 148 TWh in 2018. Oil and petroleum products showed a similar trend for heat production: since 2000 a decrease of 63.4 % with a record low of 23 TWh in 2018. Natural gas, which peaked in 2005, increased by 12.0 % in 2018. Renewable energy continued its long term increasing trend. Since 2000 heat produced from renewable sources increased by 241.9 %. However, in total, renewable energy sources contribute only by 28.1 % to the 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 always have to be in balance: all produced electricity and derived heat need to be consumed in one way or another. While there are transmission and distribution losses, the overall consumption pattern follows the production pattern very closely.

In the EU the consumption of electricity increased significantly during the 90’s but stabilised over the last 10 years. The households and services sectors are responsible for the growth of 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 3) shows that electricity consumption in the services sector increased by more than a third in the period from 2000 to 2018 (+35.4 %), while electricity consumption in the households sector increased by 16.5 % during the same period. While in 2000 electricity consumption of households was 11.2% higher than that of services, in recent years the electricity consumption of the services sector has exceeded the electricity consumption in households.

Figure 3: Consumption of electricity by sector, EU-27, 2000-2018
(GWh)
Source: Eurostat (nrg_cb_e)

In 2018, electricity consumption was 956 TWh in the industry sector, 737 TWh in the service sector, 706 TWh in the residential sector and 59 TWh in the transport sector.

The detailed data on electricity and derived heat production and consumption for 2018 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 2018 (Table 5). All data in the simplified electricity and heat balance for the EU are presented in a common energy unit (ktoe - thousand tonnes of oil equivalent). The simplified balance presents in the first part the fuels input to electricity and heat production, in the second part the electricity and heat produced and in the third part the consumption, offering a more detailed view of the consumption by industry sectors.

Table 5: Simplified balance for electricity and derived heat, EU-27, 2018
(thousand tonnes of oil equivalent)
Source: Eurostat (nrg_bal_s)

Consumption of electricity per capita in the households sector

Electricity consumption per capita in the households sector in the EU in 2018 was 1.6 MWh per capita (1 582 kWh). The range of electricity consumption per capita in the households sector in the EU Member States in 2018 varied widely, from consumption below 1 MWh per capita in Romania, Poland, Latvia and Slovakia, to consumption of over 4 MWh per capita in Sweden and Finland (Figure 4).

Figure 4: Households consumption of electricity per capita, 2018
(MWh per capita)
Source: Eurostat (nrg_cb_e), (demo_pjan)

Looking on electricity consumption per capita in the households sector in non-EU countries, an even wider range is observed: from 0.5 MWh in Moldova to 7.6 MWh in Norway. The range is affected by the choice of energy used for space heating, the climate conditions as well as the level of economic development of each country.

Consumption of electricity per unit of GDP

Electricity consumption per unit of GDP (using purchasing power standards) in the EU in 2018 was 188.3 kWh per 1000 EUR (Figure 5). The amount of electricity consumed per unit of GDP depends on many factors, such as the general standard of living, the economy and weather conditions as well as the 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 2018 were Ireland, Romania, Luxembourg and Denmark. The highest rates of electricity consumption per unit of GDP were registered in Finland, Sweden and Bulgaria. Figure 5 shows also data for non-EU countries, with lowest consumption rates in the United Kingdom and highest in Iceland (limited to countries where GDP in purchasing power standards is available).

Figure 5: Final consumption of electricity per GDP (PPS), 2018
(kWh per thousand EUR (PPS))
Source: Eurostat (nrg_cb_e), (nama_10_gdp)

Source data for tables and graphs

Data sources

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 Member States and the methodology is harmonised for all reporting countries. Consequently, comparisons across countries can be performed.

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.

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Energy statistics - main indicators (t_nrg_indic)


Energy statistics - quantities, annual data (nrg_quanta)
Energy balances (nrg_bal)
Supply, transformation and consumption - commodity balances (nrg_cb)
Energy indicator (nrg_ind)
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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.

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.