Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply statistics - NACE Rev. 2


Data extracted in May 2019.

Planned article update: February 2020.

Highlights


The network energy supply sector employed more than 1.2 million persons in the EU in 2016.

The highest wage-adjusted labour productivity among all sectors was recorded for the network energy supply subsector in the EU in 2016.

Sectoral analysis of electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply (NACE Section D), EU-28, 2016
(% share of sectoral total)
Source: Eurostat (sbs_na_ind_r2)

This article presents an overview of statistics for the European Union’s (EU’s) electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply sector, as covered by NACE Rev. 2 Section D, hereafter referred to as the network energy supply sector. It belongs to a set of statistical articles on 'Business economy by sector'.

Full article

Structural profile

The network energy supply sector (Section D) in the EU-28 employed more than 1.2 million persons in 2016 and generated EUR 223.0 billion of value added.The EU-28’s network energy supply sector as a whole contributed 0.9 % of all persons employed in the non-financial business economy (Sections B to J and L to N and Division 95) in 2016, but accounted for a 3.1 % share of non-financial business economy value added — three times as high as its share of employment. These very different shares indicate a very high apparent labour productivity within the network energy supply sector and reflect its capital-intensive nature.

Table 1: Key indicators, electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply (NACE Section D), EU-28, 2016
Source: Eurostat (sbs_na_ind_r2)

The workforce of the EU-28’s network energy supply sector was the third smallest among the NACE sections within the non-financial business economy in 2016, as only in the repair of computers and personal and household goods sectors and the mining and quarrying employed fewer persons. However, network energy supply recorded the highest level of apparent labour productivity among the NACE sections that compose the non-financial business economy, averaging EUR 180.0 thousand per person employed in 2016, well above the non-financial business economy average of EUR 50.5 thousand per person employed.

Average personnel costs for the network energy supply sector were EUR 60.0 thousand per employee (again the highest level among NACE sections within the non-financial business economy), and some EUR 26.2 thousand per employee higher than the average for the whole of the non-financial business economy (EUR 33.8 thousand per employee). The wage-adjusted labour productivity ratio combines the two previous indicators and shows the extent to which value added per person employed covers average personnel costs per employee. Due to the exceptionally high productivity and somewhat less elevated average personnel costs the EU-28’s network energy supply sector recorded the highest wage-adjusted labour productivity ratio among NACE sections within the non-financial business economy in 2016: 310.0 % compared with a non-financial business economy average of 149.4 %.

Sectoral analysis

The electric power generation, transmission and distribution subsector (Group 35.1, hereafter referred to as the electricity supply subsector) was by far the largest part of the network energy sector, contributing 82.4 % of sectoral value added and 77.0 % of the workforce in 2016. The manufacture of gas; distribution of gaseous fuels through mains subsector (Group 35.2, hereafter referred to as the gas supply subsector) was next largest in terms of value added with a 12.5 % share. Remaining 5.1 % of value added and 11.5 % of workforce was recorded in steam and air conditioning supply (Group 35.3).

Figure 1: Sectoral analysis of electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply (NACE Section D), EU-28, 2016
(% share of sectoral total)
Source: Eurostat (sbs_na_ind_r2)


Among the three subsectors that form the network energy supply sector, electricity supply subsector dominates in almost all indicators for which data is available; number of enterprises (90.9 %), persons employed (77.0 %), turnover (82.2 %). It also recorded one of the highest wage-adjusted labour productivity among all non-financial subsectors (310.0 %).

Table 2a: Sectoral analysis of key indicators, electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply (NACE Section D), EU-28, 2016
Source: Eurostat (sbs_na_ind_r2)

Country overview

Figure 2 shows that the share of manufacturing within the non-financial business economy’s value added in 2016 was in the range from 1.9 % in Luxembourg to 9.2 % in the Greece. The share in employment terms was much lower, ranging from 0.4 % in Spain and Portugal to 1.8 % in Romania and Latvia.

Figure 2: Relative importance of electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply (NACE Section D), 2016
(% share of value added and employment in the non-financial business economy total)
Source: Eurostat (sbs_na_ind_r2)

The network energy supply sector appears less concentrated in terms of the contribution made by the five largest EU Member States towards its value added (when compared with the non-financial business economy average). In value added terms the contribution in 2016 was highest in Germany where it accounted for 17.9 %, followed by the United Kingdom (13.8 %), France (13.6 %), Italy (11.0 %) and Spain (8.9 %).

Figure 3: Concentration of value added and employment, electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply (NACE Section D), 2016
(cumulative share of the five principal Member States as a % of the EU-28 total)
Source: Eurostat (sbs_na_sca_r2)


As noted above for the EU-28 aggregate, the wage-adjusted labour productivity of the network energy supply sector was particularly high. This was true in each of the Member States, with the lowest ratio in Austria (162.1 %). In value added terms, Germany was the largest EU Member State ( see Table 3.) in 2016; mainly as a result of electricity supply subsector which accounted for 15.5 % share of EU-28 value added. Italy recorded has share of value added in gas supply subsector with 1.7 % share of EU-28 value added. The Greece specialization rate for the electric power generation, transmission and distribution was very high and amounted to 8.9 % of non-financial business economy value added.

Table 3: Largest and most specialised EU Member States in electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply (NACE Section D), EU-28, 2016
Source: Eurostat (sbs_na_ind_r2)


Table 4a: Key indicators, electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply (NACE Section D), 2016
Source: Eurostat (sbs_na_ind_r2)


The capital-intensive nature of the network energy supply sector may be observed when analyzing the investment rate (the ratio of investment in tangible goods to value added). This rate was consistently higher for the network energy supply sector in each of the Member States for which 2016 data are available when compared with the investment rate for the whole of the non-financial business economy (16.7 %). The investment rate for the network energy supply sector was between three and four times as high as the average for the non-financial business economy in Denmark, France, Lithuania, Romania, Finland and in the United Kingdom.

Table 4b: Key indicators, electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply (NACE Section D), 2016
Source: Eurostat (sbs_na_ind_r2)

Size class analysis

There were 607 large enterprises (with 250 or more persons employed) within the EU-28’s network energy supply sector in 2016. Together they employed more than 900 thousand persons — equivalent to 74.2 % of the persons employed. In terms of their contribution to sectoral value added, the share of large enterprises was broadly similar, at 70.2 %. In 2016, the relative importance of large enterprises to the network energy supply sector can be seen by comparing with the overall contribution of large enterprises to the non-financial business economy workforce (33.4 %) and non-financial business economy value added (43.7 %). Indeed, the relative importance (in both employment and value added terms) of large enterprises was higher for the network energy supply sector than for any of the other NACE sections that make-up the non-financial business economy.

Table 5: Key size class indicators, electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply (NACE Section D), EU-28, 2016
Source: Eurostat (sbs_sc_sca_r2)


Figure 4: Relative importance of enterprise size classes, electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply (NACE Section D), EU-28, 2016
(% share of sectoral total)
Source: Eurostat (sbs_sc_sca_r2)


Figure 5: Sectoral analysis of employment by enterprise size class, electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply (NACE Section D), EU-28, 2016
(% share of sectoral employment)
Source: Eurostat (sbs_sc_ind_r2)


Figure 6: Sectoral analysis of value added by enterprise size class, electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply (NACE Section D), EU-28, 2016
(% share of sectoral value added)
Source: Eurostat (sbs_sc_ind_r2)

Large enterprises accounted for nine out of ten persons within the network energy supply sector’s workforce in France in 2016. They provided more than half of the network energy supply sector’s workforce in each of the EU Member States for which 2016 data are available, other than Finland, Czechia and Portugal, where their share was 39.4 %, 47.8 % and 48.7 % respectively. In Norway, large enterprises in the network energy supply sector accounted for around one third (32.4 %) of the sectoral workforce in 2016, with a far higher share (42.2 %) for medium-sized enterprises (that employed 50 to 249 persons), while highest share for medium-sized enterprises was recorder in the Iceland (72.5 %)

Table 6a: Number of persons employed by enterprise size class, electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply (NACE Section D), 2016
Source: Eurostat (sbs_sc_ind_r2)

Across the EU Member States, the distribution of value added by enterprise size class was generally quite similar to that recorded for employment. With the exception of Belgium, Denmark, Portugal and Finland for each of the other Member States for which data are available, large enterprises accounted for more than 50 % of sectoral value added, peaking in Cyprus and Poland, where more than 90 % of the value added in the network energy supply sector was generated by large enterprises. In Iceland, Norway and the Switzerland, sectoral value added in the network energy supply sector came for 36.6 %, 40.9 % and 49.0 % from large enterprises respectively.

Table 6b: Value added by enterprise size class, electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply (NACE Section D), 2016
Source: Eurostat (sbs_sc_ind_r2)

Regions

The French capital city region of the Île de France recorded the highest number of persons employed, across NUTS level 2 regions within the EU-28, for the network energy supply sector in 2016. With 157.7 thousand persons, the Île de France accounted for 12.8 % of the total number of persons employed in the EU-28 in this sector. The second highest number of persons employed (18.7 thousand) was recorded in Lombardia in Italy, while the third highest level of employment was recorded in Slaskie in Poland (16.9 thousand persons). Among the top 20 regions with the highest levels of employment for the network energy supply sector, the remaining 17 regions included four additional regions in Poland, three regions in the United Kingdom and in Romania; one in Bulgaria, Ireland, Greece, Croatia, Italy, Latvia and Lithuania.

Figure 7: Ten largest NUTS 2 regions in terms of employment, electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply (NACE Section D), EU-28 and Norway, 2016
(thousands)
Source: Eurostat (sbs_r_nuts06_r2)

The relative importance of the network energy supply sector can be analysed by comparing the employment of this sector with the non-financial business economy workforce. Among the 210 NUTS level 2 regions for which data are available in 2016, the median share of the network energy supply sector in the non-financial business economy workforce was 0.7 %. In the vast majority of regions, the network energy supply sector accounted for less than 2.0 % of the non-financial business economy workforce. Indeed, the network energy supply accounted for 2.0 % or more of the non-financial business economy workforce in just except in nine regions of the 210 regions for which data are available across the EU-28.

In keeping with the ranking of employment levels, the contribution of the network energy supply sector to non-financial business economy employment was relatively high in several regions located in Member States that joined the EU in 2004 or 2007.

However, the highest share, by far, was recorded in Dytiki Makedonia, Greece (where the network energy supply sector employed 12.4 % of the non-financial business economy workforce). It was followed by the Romanian region of Sud-Vest Oltenia (4.0 %), then by the Bulgarian region of Severozapaden (3.3 % each), the Southern Scotland, region from the United Kingdom (3.2 %), the city region of the Île de France (2.8 %), capital city region of Mazowieckie in Poland (2.7 %), Bulgarian region — Yugoiztochen (2.4 %), Hungarian region of Dél-Dunántúl and the Italian region Valle d'Aosta/Vallée d'Aoste (2.3 % and 2.1 % respectively). These were the only other regions to report more than 2.0 % of their non-financial business economy workforce employed in the network energy supply sector. At the other end of the range, there were 67 NUTS level 2 regions in the EU-28 (subject to data availability) where the network energy supply sector accounted for less than 0.5 % of the non-financial business economy workforce in 2016.

Data sources

Coverage

The electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply sector, NACE Rev. 2 Section D, referred to in this article as the network energy supply sector, concerns the provision of electric power, natural gas, steam, hot water and the like through a network (permanent infrastructure) of lines, mains and pipes. Apart from transmission and distribution through a network, this activity also includes the generation of electric power and the production of steam, hot or chilled water and cooled air.

The network energy supply sector comprises three NACE groups, as follows:

  • the production, transmission, distribution and trade of electricity (Group 35.1), which can be generated from fossil, nuclear or renewable fuels;
  • the manufacture, distribution and trade of gas via mains (Group 35.2), excluding the (typically long-distance) transport of gas through pipelines, the bulk sale and transport of gaseous fuels or its distribution in canisters, and also the manufacture of refined petroleum products and industrial gases;
  • the supply of steam and air conditioning (Group 35.3), including the production, collection and distribution of steam and hot water (for example, for heating and power), cooled air, chilled water for cooling and ice; this network distribution of steam and hot water may be for the purpose of city heating, also known as district heating.

Data sources

The analysis presented in this article is based on the main dataset for structural business statistics (SBS), size class data and regional data, all of which are published annually.

The main series provides information for each EU Member State as well as a number of non-member countries at a detailed level according to the activity classification NACE. Data are available for a wide range of variables.

In structural business statistics, size classes are generally defined by the number of persons employed. A limited set of the standard structural business statistics variables (for example, the number of enterprises, turnover, persons employed and value added) are analyzed by size class, mostly down to the three-digit (group) level of NACE. The main size classes used in this article for presenting the results are:

  • small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs): with 1 to 249 persons employed, further divided into;
    • micro enterprises: with less than 10 persons employed;
    • small enterprises: with 10 to 49 persons employed;
    • medium-sized enterprises: with 50 to 249 persons employed;
  • large enterprises: with 250 or more persons employed.


Regional SBS data are available at NUTS levels 1 and 2 for the EU Member States, Iceland and Norway, mostly down to the two-digit (division) level of NACE. The main variable analyzed in this article is the number of persons employed. The type of statistical unit used for regional SBS data is normally the local unit, which is an enterprise or part of an enterprise situated in a geographically identified place. Local units are classified into sectors (by NACE) normally according to their own main activity, but in some EU Member States the activity code is assigned on the basis of the principal activity of the enterprise to which the local unit belongs. The main SBS data series are presented at national level only, and for this national data the statistical unit is the enterprise. It is possible for the principal activity of a local unit to differ from that of the enterprise to which it belongs. Hence, national SBS data from the main series are not necessarily directly comparable with national aggregates compiled from regional SBS.

Context

The EU’s gas and electricity internal markets have been changing through the requirements of the second and third electricity and gas directives adopted in 2003 and July 2009. The aim of opening-up European energy markets to competition has been to provide households and business with greater choice, lower prices, better service and improved security of supply. By 3 March 2011, these gas and electricity directives had to be transposed into national law by Member States and three Regulations (one on conditions for access to the natural gas transmission networks, one on conditions for access to the network for cross-border exchanges in electricity, and one on the establishment of an agency for the cooperation of energy regulators) became applicable on that date.

Policies related to energy and to climate change are particularly important for many parts of the network energy supply sector. The EU aims to become a low-carbon, energy-efficient economy in the coming decades. The integrated energy and climate change policy laid out in December 2008 aims to cut greenhouse gases by 20 %, reduce energy consumption by 20 % through increased energy efficiency and to meet 20 % of the EU’s energy needs from renewable sources by 2020 — these goals will have implications on the way network energy suppliers operate.

In March 2010, the Europe 2020 strategy was adopted: this is the EU’s strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. It is a strategy to enhance the competitiveness of the EU and to create more growth and jobs. A resource-efficient Europe is one of the flagship initiatives of this strategy that aims to support the shift towards a resource-efficient, low-carbon economy to achieve sustainable growth. Within this broad initiative are several energy related initiatives. The Energy 2020 strategy for competitive, sustainable and secure energy was adopted in November 2010 by the European Commission. It defines energy priorities through until 2020 and sets out actions to be taken in order to tackle the challenges of saving energy, achieve a market with competitive prices and secure supplies, boost technological leadership, and effectively negotiate with international partners. Energy infrastructure priorities for 2020 and beyond were adopted at the same time and are intended to serve as a blueprint for an integrated European energy network which defines EU priority corridors for the transport of electricity, gas and oil. In March 2011 the European Commission adopted the Energy efficiency plan 2011: energy efficiency is seen as one of the most cost-effective ways to enhance security of energy supply and to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants. In April 2011, the European Commission adopted the Communication Smart grids: from innovation to deployment which sets out policy directions to stimulate the deployment of electricity networks making use of progress in information and communication technologies to make electricity distribution more efficient and so reduce costs and emissions.

With its Roadmap for moving to a competitive low-carbon economy in 2050, the European Commission has looked beyond short-term objectives and set out a cost-effective pathway for achieving much deeper emission cuts by the middle of the 21st century. The EU is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to a level 80–95 % below 1990 levels by 2050, given that there are also necessary reductions by other developed economies. In an Energy Roadmap 2050 (COM(2011) 885 final) the European Commission explored the possible challenges that may be faced in order to meet the EU’s decarbonisation objective, while at the same time ensuring security of energy supply and competitiveness.

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SBS — industry and construction (sbs_ind_co)
Annual detailed enterprise statistics — industry and construction (sbs_na_ind)
Annual detailed enterprise statistics for industry (NACE Rev. 2, B-E) (sbs_na_ind_r2)
SMEs — Annual enterprise statistics by size class — industry and construction (sbs_sc_ind)
Industry by employment size class (NACE Rev. 2, B-E) (sbs_sc_ind_r2)
SBS — regional data — all activities (sbs_r)
SBS data by NUTS 2 regions and NACE Rev. 2 (from 2008 onwards) (sbs_r_nuts06_r2)