Eurostat just published a news release that in 2017 energy consumption in the EU, again, has increased 1% compared to the year before. For three years in a row now energy consumption in EU28 is increasing. This makes it more difficult to achieve the energy efficiency improvement target. In 2020 energy consumption should be 20% lower than baseline projections, in 2030 32,5%. (see Eurostat-news).
Let’s have a look at history. How did the energy consumption of the 28 countries that now are part of the EU develop from 1965 onwards.
Combining data from BP’s Energy Review Statistics (dotted line in line below) and data from Eurostat visualises the development of primary energy consumption (y-axis) in EU28 and the corresponding greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions over more than half a century
The strong dominance of fossil resources (share-wise) in energy consumption can make it easy to overlook the disruptive changes that are taking place in today’s energy landscape: for more than a decade now, total energy consumption is going down in the European Union – at the cost of fossil fuels. Only renewable based energy consumption is growing.Energy consumption from renewabe resources (solar, wind, geothermal, bioenery) shows a hyperbolic curve – flat from 1965 to the end of the 1980s, curving in the 1990s and going steep up in share in this century. In 2014 the combined hydro and other renewables energy consumption bypassed nuclear and has climbed to 75% of the coal based consumption level.
The graph below presents which resources fueled growth in a given year compared to the year before. Oil, gas, to a lesser extent coal, and in the 80s nuclear were the resources used for energy consumption growth – up to 2004. From that year on dominancy has been taken over by hydro and other renewables.
The COP21 conference in Paris is approaching and the EU 2030 energy and climate targets are set – as well as the low carbon economy vision for 2050.
It is clear which ‘colour’ will dominate Europe’s energy landscape in the decades that come.
Over 2014 the world’s energy consumption has increased as can be conluded on basis of the June-2015 numbers of the BP Energy Statistical Review. The majority of resources to fuel this growth are still fossil based.The share of renewables is rapidly growing in importance. However, decreasing world fossil fuel consumption and fueling the growing energy consumption by renewable sources still remains a daunting challenge.The growth of fossil fuels and renewables from 2008 (credit crisis) onward, tends towards reaching growth parity. The big question is when will the growth of the world’s renewable energy consumption turn into growth dominancy?