Share of energy consumption from renewable sources in Europe
With a 21.3% share of energy consumed from renewable sources in 2020, the EU has reached its headline target (20%) for 2020, according to EEA early estimates. This success builds upon years of consistent work by all Member States, even if national progress is uneven. The exceptional circumstances of 2020, marked by disruptions in all economic sectors due to the pandemic, have facilitated meeting the renewable energy target by lowering total energy consumption. An unprecedented transformation in the energy system will still be necessary to meet the 32% renewable energy target set for 2030.
Greenhouse gas emission intensity of electricity generation in Europe
The greenhouse gas emission intensity of power generation in the EU has been continuously decreasing over the last three decades: generating 1 kilowatt hour in 2020 emitted, on average, half as much CO2 as in 1990. Policies have been playing an important role in driving this shift towards less carbon-intensive energy sources, in particular those addressing climate change, renewable energy supply and efficient energy use, and industrial emissions. The Covid-19 pandemic hardly affected electricity use in 2020, but the continued growth of renewable electricity caused a further drop in the greenhouse gas emission intensity of electricity generation.
Primary and final energy consumption in Europe
The EU is struggling to reduce its energy consumption and is at risk of not meeting its 2020 energy efficiency target. In 2019, while primary energy consumption (for all energy uses, including transformation into electricity or heat) dropped for the second consecutive year, final energy consumption (by end users) remained stable at its highest level since 2010. The COVID-19 pandemic is expected to significantly reduce energy consumption in 2020. However, substantial changes in the energy system will be necessary to achieve the EU’s energy objectives and climate neutrality by 2050.
Greenhouse gas emissions from energy use in buildings in Europe
Historical greenhouse gas emissions from the EU buildings sector show a decreasing trend since 2005. This is the result of the implementation of higher standards for new buildings, measures to increase energy efficiency in existing buildings (e.g. through changing of heating systems, thermal insulation and more efficient heating systems), measures to decarbonise the electricity sector but also warmer temperatures. These reductions were partly offset by the increase in dwellings and by a larger average floor area in buildings. The trend in reducing emissions is expected to continue in the future, but a very strong increase in the renovation rate is needed to meet the overall EU 2030 emissions target.