Statistics Explained

Energy efficiency statistics

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Data from 16 December 2021

Planned article update: 21 December 2022

Highlights

In 2020, primary energy consumption in the EU was 5.8 % below the 2020 energy target and 9.6 % above the 2030 target.

In 2020, final energy consumption in the EU was 5.4 % below the 2020 energy target and 7.2 % above the 2030 target.

Distance to 2020 and 2030 targets for final energy consumption, EU-27
Source: Eurostat (nrg_ind_eff)

Energy efficiency targets for 2020 and 2030

The European Union (EU) has committed itself to a 20 % reduction of energy consumption by the year 2020 compared to baseline[1] projections. This objective is also known as the 20 % energy efficiency target. In other words, the EU-28 has committed[2] itself to have a primary energy consumption of no more than 1 483 Mtoe and a final energy consumption of no more than 1 086 Mtoe in 2020. For 2030 the binding target is at least 32.5 % reduction. This translates into a primary energy consumption of no more than 1 273 Mtoe and a final energy consumption of no more than 956 Mtoe in 2030. With the withdrawal of the United Kingdom, the Union's energy consumption figures for 2020 and 2030 needs to be adjusted[3] to the situation of 27 Member States. A technical adaptation of targets results in a primary energy consumption of no more than 1 312 Mtoe in 2020 and 1 128 Mtoe in 2030 and a final energy consumption of no more than 959 Mtoe in 2020 and 846 Mtoe in 2030.

This article provides statistical evaluation of the energy consumption trends in relation to these objectives and describes the statistical method for its measurement.

Full article

Primary energy consumption and distance to 2020 and 2030 targets

Over the years, the primary energy consumption has fluctuated as energy needs are influenced by economic developments, the structural changes in industry, the implementation of energy efficiency measures and also the specific weather situation (such as cold vs. warm winters).In 2020, the key factor affecting the EU energy consumption was the COVID-19 related restrictions (e.g. lockdowns, curfews and travel restrictions). It reached the lowest levels since 1990 (the first year for which data are available).The primary energy consumption in the EU-27 dropped sharply to 1 236 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe), which is 5.8% better than the efficiency target for 2020, thus clearly outperforming it. Yet, this is still 9.6% away from the 2030 target, implying that efforts to improve efficiency need to be maintained in the years to come. Since its peak in 2006, it decreased by 18.1 %. The gap between the actual level of primary energy consumption and the target level in 2020 was 15.1 % in 2006. By 2014 the gap decreased to 1.4 % and subsequently increased to 5.4 % in 2017. After 2017 it was decreasing again. Please see data shown in Table 1 and Figure 1.

Table 1: Primary energy consumption and distance to 2020 and 2030 targets, EU-27
Source: Eurostat (nrg_ind_eff)


Figure 1: Distance to 2020 and 2030 targets for primary energy consumption, EU-27
Source: Eurostat (nrg_ind_eff)

Final energy consumption and distance to 2020 and 2030 targets

The Final energy consumption peaked in 2006 (9.0% above the 2020 target). In 2014 the final energy consumption was 2.1 % below the 2020 target level. After four consecutive years of increases (from 2014 to 2018), final energy consumption has slightly decreased in 2019 and in 2020 it nosedived due to COVID-19 pandemic. It reached 907 Mtoe: 5.4% better than the efficiency target for 2020 and 7.2% away from the 2030 target. (shown in Table 2 and in Figure 2)

Table 2: Final energy consumption and distance to 2020 and 2030 targets, EU-27
Source: Eurostat (nrg_ind_eff)


Figure 2: Distance to 2020 and 2030 targets for final energy consumption, EU-27
Source: Eurostat (nrg_ind_eff)

Country specific evolution

In 2020 the primary and final energy consumption in the EU-27 plummeted due to COVID-19 related restrictions. This section presents the evolution from before the COVID-19 pandemic (average of years 2017, 2018 and 2019) with the most recent period (year 2020).

When comparing with the 2017-2019 average, primary energy consumption decreased in all EU Member States. The highest decreases were recorded in Estonia (-21.2%), followed by Spain (-14.8%) and Cyprus (-13.4%), while Lithuania (-0.7%), Hungary (-2.5%) and Romania (-4.5%) registered the smallest reductions.

Figure 3: Changes in primary energy consumption
Source: Eurostat (nrg_ind_eff)

The same general drop was also registered in the final energy consumption compared with the 2017-2019 average. The highest drops were registered in Malta (-17.4%), Cyprus (-15.9%) and Spain (-14.2%) and the smallest in Romania (-0.3%), Hungary (-2.9%) and Sweden (-2.9%).

Figure 4: Changes in final energy consumption
Source: Eurostat (nrg_ind_eff)

Diverging trends between the primary energy consumption and the final energy consumption are often the result of fundamental changes in the energy system, most notably the switch between electricity generation from fossil fuels and nuclear power (low efficiency) to wind and solar PV (100 % efficiency, according to the methodology used). Such shift will cause decrease in the primary energy consumption but nearly no change in the final energy consumption. Transformation losses are part of the transformation sector of the producing country (thus in primary energy consumption) and for net importers or net exporters of secondary products this affect their primary and final energy consumption in a different manner. The net exporter of electricity would see increase in their primary energy consumption without any change in their final energy consumption, while for net importers the same absolute value would change both. Similar case for countries without oil refineries, changes in final energy consumption of oil products would result in exactly the same absolute changes in primary energy consumption. For final energy consumption, the trend reflects the actual consumption of end-users without including losses occurred during energy transformation. For example, the way how electricity is generated affects only the primary energy consumption. However, how much electricity is consumed, affects both the primary energy consumption (resources needed to produce or the imports of electricity) and also the final energy consumption (its actual consumption by end-users). In addition, as the primary energy consumption has to be bigger or equal to final energy consumption (and in all real case actually is bigger), the same absolute value changes will cause higher percentage changes in the final energy consumption.

Source data for tables and graphs

Data sources

Data from energy balances have been used for all calculations. Data are available for all EU Member States and for all time periods from 1990. The most recent data available are for 2020. In general, data are complete, recent and highly comparable across countries. This results in high accuracy and accountability of EU aggregate figures.

Methodology

The target values for 2020 and 2030 are fixed in Article 3 of Directive 2012/27/EU:

  • the Union’s 2020 energy consumption has to be no more than 1 483 Mtoe of primary energy or no more than 1 086 Mtoe of final energy
  • the Union's 2030 energy consumption has to be no more than 1 273 Mtoe of primary energy and/or no more than 956 Mtoe of final energy

These values apply to EU-28. With the withdrawal of the United Kingdom, the Union's energy consumption figures for 2020 and 2030 needs to be adjusted to the situation of 27 Member States. A technical adaptation, respecting the same calculation principles, results in a primary energy consumption of no more than 1 312 Mtoe in 2020 and 1 128 Mtoe in 2030 and a final energy consumption of no more than 959 Mtoe in 2020 and 846 Mtoe in 2030. More details are available on the website of DG Energy.

The primary energy consumption used for monitoring progress towards 2020 and 2030 targets is taken from energy balances: Primary energy consumption (Europe 2020-2030) [code: PEC2020-2030]. The primary energy consumption has to be measured in Mtoe.

The final energy consumption used for monitoring progress towards 2020 and 2030 targets is taken from energy balances: Final energy consumption (Europe 2020-2030) [code: FEC2020-2030]. The final energy consumption has to be measured in Mtoe.

The distance to target in absolute terms (Mtoe) is calculated as a difference between the observed energy consumption in a given year to the absolute primary and final energy consumption targets in 2020 or 2030 according to Directive 2012/27/EU.

The distance to target in relative terms (as percentage) is calculated as a ratio of the distance in a given year to primary and final energy consumption target in 2020 or 2030 according to Directive 2012/27/EU.

Context

Europe cannot afford to waste energy. Energy efficiency is the most cost effective way to reduce emissions, improve energy security, enhance competitiveness and make energy consumption more affordable for all consumers. Energy efficiency is also one of the key factors in achieving our long-term energy and climate goals.

The European Council adopted in 2007 energy and climate change objectives for 2020:

  • to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 %
  • to increase the share of renewable energy to 20 %
  • to make a 20 % improvement in energy efficiency.

The European Parliament has continuously supported more ambitious goals.

On 25 October 2012, the EU adopted Directive 2012/27/EU on energy efficiency. This Directive establishes a common framework of measures for the promotion of energy efficiency within the Union in order to ensure the achievement of the 20 % headline target on energy efficiency.

On 11 December 2018, the EU amended Directive 2012/27/EU on energy efficiency and set a 2030 target of 32.5 %, also with a possible upward revision in 2023.

As part of the European Green Deal, the Commission proposed in September 2020 to raise the 2030 greenhouse gas emission reduction target, including emissions and removals, to at least 55% compared to 1990. It looked at the actions required across all sectors, including increased energy efficiency and renewable energy, and started the process of making detailed legislative proposals to implement and achieve the increased ambition. In July 2021, the Commission proposed[4] a revision of Directive 2012/27/EU on energy efficiency, which include revised 2030 targets: 1 023 Mtoe for primary energy and 787 Mtoe for final energy.

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Notes

  1. Projections made in years 2007 for energy consumption in year 2020. The target was set as 20 % reduction from the projected value.
  2. see the original Directive 2012/27/EU of 25 October 2012 on energy efficiency and also Council Directive 2013/12/EU of 13 May 2013 adapting Directive 2012/27/EU on energy efficiency, by reason of the accession of the Republic of Croatia.
  3. see Decision (EU) 2019/504 of 19 March 2019 on amending Directive 2012/27/EU on energy efficiency and Regulation (EU) 2018/1999 on the Governance of the Energy Union and Climate Action, by reason of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the Union
  4. see COM(2021) 558 final