EU energy consumption at lowest level for 20 years
Energy consumption by European Union members has fallen to its lowest level since the early 1990s, but the EU is still heavily reliant on imported energy to meet its needs, the latest research shows.
The report by Eurostat; the statistical office of the European Union, shows energy consumption by the EU in 2013 was 1,666 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe), down 9.1% from the amount consumed in 1990. The drop reflects efforts taken by member states and businesses to cut energy use and improve energy efficiency in order to hit the 20% energy savings objective the EU committed to by 2020.
The UK is the third greatest consumer of energy at 201.1 Mtoe, behind Germany at 324.3 Mtoe and France at 259.3 Mtoe. However the UK's consumption has dropped by almost 5% compared with 1990. Last month the Association for Decentralised Energy reported that the UK had avoided building 14 new power stations by improving energy efficiency.
Overall the EU imported just over half (53%) of the total energy it consumed. Of the 790 Mtoe produced domestically, nuclear energy provided the largest share at 29%, ahead of renewables at 24% and solid fuels at 20%. Gas contributed 17%, oil 9% and non-renewable wastes 1%.
The UK has the lowest import dependency of the five largest energy consuming countries at 46.4%, ahead of France, Germany, Spain and Italy. The UK's energy imports are kept low by it being the third largest energy producer in the EU. The UK produces 14% of the EU's total domestic energy, behind France with 17% and Germany with 15%.
38.3% of the UK's energy was produced from from oil and 30% from gas. Just 7.7% came from renewable sources, the second lowest rate among EU member states.
In October edie reported that the 28 leaders of the European Union had committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2030, despite deep divisions among some Member States over how to produce energy. Agreement was reached ahead of the global UN summit on climate change in Paris this year.
Sustainability Live 2015
Strategies to reduce energy costs, such as using less, on-site generation and smarter procurement, will be discussed in the session Energy - The bottom line: use less, make your own, buy smarter in the conference programme at Sustainability Live 2015 in April.