Coal production and consumption statistics

Data extracted in June 2019.

Planned article update: June 2020.

Highlights

In 2018, the coal consumption of the EU, hard coal and brown coal together, reached 596 million tonnes, with about 60 % of hard coal and more than 90 % of brown coal used for electricity and heat production.

Gross inland consumption of hard coal and brown coal, EU, 2014-2018 (million tonnes)

This article explains how consumption and supply of coal in the European Union (EU) has evolved, highlighting the trends in production and consumption of the main types of solid fossil fuels: hard coal and brown coal. In addition the article gives some figures on the supply of coke oven coke.

Full article

Consumption and production of hard coal

As illustrated in Figure 1, gross inland consumption of hard coal in the EU decreased steadily in the 1990s. Starting in 1999 and for almost a decade, the yearly hard coal consumption stabilised at around 360 to 380 million tonnes. Then, it declined sharply in 2008 and 2009, and recovered only partially in the next three consecutive years reaching roughly 320 million tonnes in 2012. Since 2013, the consumption is steadily decreasing. The 2018 hard coal consumption of the EU is estimated to have reached 226 million tonnes.

Production of hard coal in the EU has decreased almost continuously from 1990 and this long-term decrease has been more severe than for consumption. In 2018, the EU production was 74 million tonnes, 80 % less than the 368 million tonnes of 1990. In 2018, 33 % of gross inland consumption could be covered by production in the EU, compared with 74 % in 1990. The 2018 figures are estimates based on monthly data.

In 1990, 14 Member States of the current EU were producing hard coal, in 2018 there were only five: Poland, Czechia, Germany, United Kingdom and Spain. In 2018, Poland produced 63.4 million tonnes hard coal, 80 % of the total EU production. Czechia produced 4.5, Germany 2.8, the United Kingdom 2.6 and Spain 0.5 million tonnes.

Compared to 2012, which was the last peak in the EU hard coal production (123 million tonnes), to 2018 Poland decreased its production by 20 % and Czechia by 39 %. The remaining countries drastically reduced their hard coal production in the same period, Germany by 76 %, the United Kingdom by 84 %, Spain by 86 %.

Figure 1: Gross inland consumption and production of hard coal, EU, 1990-2018 (million tonnes)
Source: Eurostat (nrg_cb_sff), (nrg_101m)


Poland (32 %) and Germany (20 %) together accounted for more than the half of the total hard coal consumption of the EU in 2017, followed by Spain (9 %), Italy, France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom (all 6 %). Figure 2 presents the hard coal consumption of the EU from 2013 to 2017 by Member State.

Figure 2: Gross inland consumption of hard coal by Member State, EU, 2013-2017 (million tonnes)
Source: Eurostat (nrg_cb_sff)

Consumption and production of brown coal

The 2018 consumption of brown coal in the EU is estimated at 370 million tonnes. Figure 3 presents the trend since 1990. In the 1990s, the consumption decreased rapidly, between 2000 and 2012 it was floating in the range of 400 to 450 million tonnes per year. Since 2013, the consumption trend is mostly declining.

The brown coal production trend is very similar to its consumption trend; the brown coal is mostly produced in the countries of the consumption, while imports and exports are negligible.

Figure 3: Gross inland consumption of brown coal, EU, 1990-2018
Source: Eurostat (nrg_cb_sff), (nrg_101m)


Germany represented 44 % of the total brown coal consumption of the EU in 2017, followed by Poland (16 %), Czechia and Greece (both 10 %), Bulgaria (9 %) and Romania (7 %). Figure 4 presents the brown coal consumption of the EU from 2013 to 2017 by Member State.

Figure 4: Gross inland consumption of brown coal by Member State, EU, 2013-2017 (million tonnes)
Source: Eurostat (nrg_cb_sff)

Deliveries of coal to power plants

The majority of hard coal (61 % in 2017) and certainly of brown coal (93 % in 2017) is used for power production. In 2017, 150 million tonnes of hard coal were delivered to power plants in the EU producing electricity and heat. For brown coal, this amount was 359 million tonnes.

Both series were decreasing in the 1990s, then remained mostly stable until 2012 but with significant decreases from 2008 to 2010 (see Figure 5). Since 2013, hard coal deliveries for power production show a clearly declining trend; in the electricity and heat production hard coal is more and more replaced by natural gas and renewable energy sources. Brown coal deliveries to power plants also show a declining trend since 2013, with a slight increase in 2017.

Figure 5: Deliveries of brown coal and hard coal to power plants, EU, 1990-2017 (million tonnes)
Source: Eurostat (nrg_cb_sff)

Deliveries of coal to coking plants and coke oven coke production

Hard coal (more specifically coking coal) is essential to produce coke oven coke for the steel and iron industry. The latest available annual figures show that in 2017 coking plants in the EU consumed 51 million tonnes of coking coal to produce 39 million tonnes of coke oven coke, keeping a similar level to 2016 (see Figure 6).

Figure 6: Hard coal deliveries to coke ovens and coke oven coke production, EU, 2013-2017 (million tonnes)
Source: Eurostat (nrg_cb_sff)


Source data for tables and graphs

Data sources

The production and consumption data of hard coal and brown coal between 1990 and 2017 are based on annual data. All 2018 figures are based on the monthly questionnaires of solid fuels and are simply aggregated over the 12 months. These cumulative monthly data for 2018 are considered provisional estimates as the monthly questionnaires are less comprehensive in methodology and national data sources compared to the annual questionnaires. To highlight the trends based on the monthly questionnaires as well as the differences with the results of the annual questionnaires Figures 1 and Figure 3 show the data of both sources for 2016 to 2018.

The reporting of coal statistics is based on Energy statistics Regulation (EC) No 1099/2008.

Direct access to
Other articles
Tables
Database
Dedicated section
Publications
Methodology
Legislation
Visualisations
External links





Energy Statistics - main indicators (t_nrg_indic)
Final energy consumption by product (ten00123)
Energy statistics - quantities (nrg_quant)
Energy statistics - quantities, annual data (nrg_quanta)
Supply, transformation and consumption - commodity balances (nrg_cb)
Supply, transformation and consumption of solid fossil fuels (nrg_cb_sff)
Energy statistics - quantities (nrg_quant)
Energy statistics - quantities, monthly data (nrg_quantm)
Energy statistics - supply, transformation, consumption (nrg_10m)
Supply and transformation of solid fuels - monthly data (nrg_101m)