Electricity and heat statistics
Data extracted in June 2018.
Planned article update: June 2019.
In 2016 the gross electricity production in EU was increasing only slightly compared to 2015 with 0.6 % and reached 3 255 TWh.
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 11 non-EU countries. This article focuses primarily data for the EU-28 between 2000 and 2016.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.
Gross electricity production in the EU-28 increased from 3 036 TWh in 2000 to its peak of 3 387 TWh in 2008. In 2016 the gross electricity production was increasing only slightly compared to 2015 with 0.6 % and reached 3 255 TWh, but shows a decrease of 3.9 % compared with the 2008 peak value.
In 2016 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 38.8 %.
Production of electricity
Total gross electricity production in 2016 in the EU-28 did not continue the decreasing trend of recent years and was 3 255 TWh in 2016. Following the 4.9 % decrease from 2008 to 2009, there was almost a full recovery in 2010. Since 2010 the production has decreased but began slightly to increase once again since 2015 (Figure 1).
The highest share of electricity in 2016 was produced in power plants using renewable energy sources (30.1 %), followed by nuclear power plants (25.8 %), coal fired power plants (21.5 %) and gas fired plants (19.7 %) . Lower shares were noticed for oil (1.8 %) and non-renewable wastes (0.8 %). The detailed data on gross electricity production by fuel are shown in Table 1.
There have been significant changes in the contribution of the different renewable energy sources to electricity production over the last two decades. In 2000, slightly more than 94 % of renewable electricity was produced from hydro energy, a share which dropped to 38.7 % in 2016. The other important renewable energy sources in electricity production in 2016 were wind (30.9 %), solar photo-voltaic (10.7 %), solid biofuels (9.3 %) and biogases (6.4 %).
A time series for gross electricity production by fuels are presented in Figure 1 (cumulated area chart). Since 2000 electricity generation from renewable energy sources has more than doubled and is the only source which continued to grow after 2008. Coal fired power plants in 2016 were at the lowest level of electricity production in the EU-28 since 2000. Electricity generated from natural gas expanded from 479.6 TWh in 2000 to its peak of 790 TWh in 2008. However, by 2014 the electricity generation from natural gas decreased to 458 TWh and began to increase once again from 2015 to reach 610 TWh in 2016. The trend in electricity production in nuclear power plants shows a peak in 2004 with moderate trends of increase from 2000 to 2004 (+6.4 %) and a decrease from 2004 to 2016 (-16.7 %).
Installed electrical capacity
The installed electrical capacity in the EU-28 is presented in Table 2. It increased by 32 % in the period from 2000 to 2016. Its structure changed significantly over this period. In 2000, the highest share of installed capacity was accounted for by combustible fuels (58.1 %), followed by nuclear (20.3 %) and hydro (19.5 %) , with all others at less than 1 %. In 2016, the share of installed capacity of combustible fuels decreased to 46 %, the share of hydro to 15.4 % and the share of nuclear to 12.3 %. On the other hand, the share of wind increased to 15.6 % and the share of solar to 10.4 %, 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 2016 represented 1% of the electricity consumption by end-users. However, there is quite a difference between various EU Member States. While Luxembourg, Lithuania, Malta, Croatia and Hungary were net importers for 99 %, 85 %, 72 %, 36 % and 34 % respectively, Estonia, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Romania were net exporters for 28 %, 22 %, 20 % and 12 % respectively.
In 2016 the biggest net importers of electricity were Italy, Finland and the United Kingdom, while Germany, France and Sweden were the biggest net exporters of electricity (Table 3).
Derived heat production
EU-28 total gross production of derived heat in 2016 was nearly 2.5 million TJ. The highest share of heat was produced from natural gas and derived gases (38 %), followed by solid fossil fuels (25.1 %) and renewable energies (24.1 %). The detailed data on gross heat production by fuel are shown in Table 4 and Figures 2.
Production of derived heat from solid fossil fuels continued its long term decreasing trend: since 2000 it decreased by 23.3 % and reached a record low of 620 697 TJ in 2016. Oil products showed a similar trend for heat production: since 2000 a decrease of 57 % with a record low of 104 353 TJ in 2015. In 2016 it reached 106 850 TJ. While natural gas significantly increased and peaked in 2005, it decreased by 21 % in 2016. Renewable energy continues its long term increasing trend. Since 2000 heat produced from renewable sources increased by 217.6 %. However in total, renewable energy sources contribute only 24.1 % 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: 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 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. The residential and the 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 3) shows that electricity consumption in the service sector almost doubled in the period from 1990 to 2016 (+91.8 %), while electricity consumption in the residential sector increased by 32.8 % 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 2016 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 2016 (Table 5). All data in the simplified electricity and heat balance for the EU-28 are presented in a common energy unit (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 2016 was 1.58 MWh per capita (1 584 kWh). The range of electricity consumption per capita in the residential sector in the EU Member States in 2016 varied widely, from consumptions below 1 MWh per capita in Romania, Poland, Latvia, Slovakia and Lithuania, to consumptions of over 4 MWh per capita in Finland and Sweden (Figure 4).
Looking on electricity consumption per capita in the residential sector in non-EU countries, an even wider range is observed: from 0.65 MWh in Turkey to 7.44 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 2016 was 186.8 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 2016 were Ireland, Romania, Luxembourg and United-Kingdom. 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 in Turkey and highest in Iceland (limited to countries where GDP in Purchasing Power Standards is available).
Source data for tables and graphs
- Download the MS Excel file containing the data for the Tables and Figures.
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.
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.
- Energy (t_nrg), see:
- Energy statistics - main indicators (t_nrg_indic)
- Energy statistics - quantities (t_nrg_quant)
- Energy (nrg), see:
- Energy statistics - main indicators (nrg_indic)
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.
- Regulation (EC) No 1099/2008 on energy statistics
- Gas includes natural gas and derived gases; and excludes biogas included in renewable energy sources.
- Oil includes crude oil and petroleum products.