Goals for primary energy consumption between 2020 and 2030

Goals for primary energy consumption between 2020 and 2030

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The European Union has committed itself to a 20% reduction of energy consumption by the year 2020. This objective is also known as the 20% energy efficiency target. With the withdrawal of the United Kingdom, the EU’s energy consumption figures for 2020 and 2030 needs to be adjusted. 

The primary energy consumption has fluctuated throughout time due to changes in economic conditions, industrial structure, energy efficiency initiatives, and meteorological conditions (such as cold vs. warm winters).

Limitations imposed by COVID-19 on EU energy consumption in 2020 (e.g. lockdowns, curfews and travel restrictions). It was the lowest since 1990. (the first year for which data is available). The EU-27’s primary energy consumption fell drastically to 1236 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe), 5.8% below the 2020 efficiency target. However, this is still 9.6% short of the 2030 target, meaning that efficiency improvements must continue. It has fallen 18.1% since its peak in 2006. In 2006, the difference between actual and target primary energy consumption was 15.1%. In 2014, the deficit was 1.4%, while in 2017, it was 5.4%. After 2017, it fell again. See Table 1 and Figure 1.

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

End-use energy consumption and distance by 2020 and 2030

Final energy use peaked in 2006 (9.0 percent higher than the 2020 target). Final energy usage in 2014 was 2.1% below the forecast for 2020. After four years of gains (2014-2018), final energy usage dropped in 2019 and then plummeted in 2020 due to the COVID-19 epidemic. It reached 907 Mtoe, which was 5.4 percent higher than the 2020 target but 7.2 percent lower than the 2030 target.(Table 2)

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

National evolution

The COVID-19 limits reduced primary and final energy usage in the EU-27 by 2020.Primary energy usage fell across the EU in 2018-19 compared to the 2017-2018 average. It was followed by Spain (-14.8%) and Cyprus (-13.4%), while Lithuania (-0.7%), Hungary (-2.5%), and Romania (-4.5%) had the smallest drops.

The final energy use fell by the same amount as the 2017-2019 average. The biggest losses were in Malta (-17.4%), Cyprus (-15.9%) and Spain (-14.2%), while the smallest were in Romania (-0.3%), Hungary (-2.9%) and Sweden (-0.3%). (-2.9 percent ).

The transfer from fossil fuels and nuclear power (low efficiency) to wind and solar PV (high efficiency) has resulted in diverging patterns between primary and final energy use (100 percent efficiency, according to the methodology used). This move reduces primary energy use but not final energy consumption. Transformation losses impact primary and final energy use differently for net importers and exporters of secondary products. The same absolute value would change both for net exporters and net importers of power. Changes in final energy consumption of oil products result in exactly the same absolute changes in primary energy consumption in countries without refineries. The trend for final energy consumption shows actual end-user usage, excluding energy transformation losses. Electricity generation affects only primary energy usage. To be sure, the amount of electricity consumed affects both the production and consumption of primary energy (resources needed to create or import power) (its actual consumption by end-users). Also, because primary energy consumption must be greater than or equal to final energy consumption (and it usually is), changes in primary energy consumption produce greater percentage changes in final energy consumption.

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