While gross energy consumption in the European Union is declining, dependence on imported fossil fuels has, on the other hand, increased over the past 25 years.
The EU’s gross inland energy consumption fell below its 1990 level in 2015, according to figures released on Monday by the European Statistical Office. But over the same period, its dependence on fossil fuels increased. The amount of energy needed to meet all domestic consumption amounted to 1,626 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe) in 2015, 2.5% less than in 1990, and a drop of 11, 6% compared to the peak of 1,840 Mtoe reached in 2006, specifies Eurostat.
The largest decreases in energy consumption in 2015 were recorded in Lithuania (-57% compared to 1990), Latvia (-45%) and Estonia (-37%), while Ireland (38% ), Spain (35%) and Austria (33%) have progressed. The EU has committed to reducing its energy consumption by 20% by 2020, i.e. primary energy consumption (potential energy contained in fuels) of 1,483 Mtoe and final consumption (energy consumed and billed ) of 1.086 Mtoe.
“Good news: energy consumption below 1990 levels. Bad news: the EU’s dependence on fossil fuels is increasing,” commented EU Climate Action Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete. The EU’s dependence on imports of fossil fuels (coal, oil, natural gas, etc.) has indeed increased: in 2015, three tonnes were imported for one tonne produced, against one for one in 1990.
Germany still the number one consumer
Denmark is the country least dependent on fossil fuel imports (4%), followed by Estonia (17%), Romania (25%) and Poland (32%). Conversely, the UK has seen its dependence on fossil fuel imports explode, from 2% in 1990 to 43% in 2015.
In 2015, Germany remained the main energy consumer in the EU (314 Mtoe, or 19% of total energy consumption in the EU), ahead of France (253 Mtoe, 7%) and the United Kingdom. Uni (191 Mtoe, 12%).
Fossil fuels remain “by far” the main source of energy in the EU, underlines Eurostat, despite a decline in share, from 83% in 1990 to 73% in 2015. Only three Member States, Sweden (30%) , Finland (46%) and France (49%) depend for less than 50% on fossil fuels for their energy consumption.