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
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?
Tuesday, March 31, Mrs. Hendricks, the German Minister of Environment, pointed out that after three years of increasing CO2 emissions in Germany, “the trend finally points into the right direction”. Germany saw 4,3% lower CO2 emissions in 2014. It is a start, but a lot has to be done to further decarbonize Germans energy consumption to reach its 2020 energy targets.
Germany presented an ambitious Action Plan to give yet another fierce impulse to the decarbonization of Germany’s energy consumption in december 2014. Though the ‘Energiewende’ is progressing (see graph), the ambition is challenging, in two ways. Firstly, by 2020 the total CO2-emissions must be 40% less than they were in 1990. Secondly, the total energy consumption must be 20% lower than it was in 2008. However, as the graph shows the downward trend to decarbonize Germany’s energy consumption has flattened. Even though the use of renewable energy has grown dramatically. Obviously decreasing the use of coal will help. But also an ‘Energiewende 2.0’ in oil consumption is urgently needed.
Europe-based feedstocks for biofuels have gained dominancy in the last couple of years official reporting in the Netherlands and Germany shows. Also the greenhouse gas (GHG) savings established by the use of biofuels in these two countries have increased.
Europe is currenlty debating the pathways to a decarbonized, resource efficient and energy independent Europe. The numbers in this graph demonstrate how biofuel GHG-savings and feedstock origin are contributing to these objectives.
Plotting the 2010 performance of the entire EU* causes some confusion. Both the GHG-saving and feedstock origin 2010 figures for the EU are higher than one would expect from the Dutch and German performances over 2011 till 2013 . Are other countries achieving higher GHG-saving levels and significantly using more European feedstocks? A more detailed analysis of the performances of other member states will be needed to clarify.
*The EU performance are based on the in 2013 by the European Commission (EC) published Renewable Energy Report. The newest EC Renewable Energy Progress report is expected to be published soon. It will bring clarity on the 2012 performance and enable comparison to the performances as reported in the Netherlands and Germany.