6 Charts determining the EU's energy health - Green Ecologist

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Europe is a territory of contrasts and of course, if we look at the energy sector, we are not far behind. Even so, in recent years there have been a series of important milestones that are bearing fruit, some positive and others, although they present rather negative effects, as a whole, they provide an energy strength on the European Union that until now had not been seen .

In this article we want to show a series of graphs from different recently published reports that highlight the positive energy future of the European Union. (Recall that we have already seen the energy prospects of renewables worldwide)

Although not all countries follow the same pace and progress required by the EU according to its legislation or the objectives set for 2022 (Let's remember a 20% share of renewable energy sources in the gross final energy consumption of the EU) the data together we could frame them as quite positive.

And of course, after seeing the article with the video of what happens if you live in a city that only uses renewable energy, the path must continue in a positive way.

Meeting the 2022 goals

Last week, the Eurostat office published data for 2016 on the fulfillment and evolution of the targets set for 2022 in the field of renewable energies.

At EU set, the share of renewable energies in total gross energy consumption reached a more than respectable 17% in 2016. Although this value is exactly three points below the objective of the community block for 2022 (20%). This figure doubles that registered in 2004, the first year for which data are available, which amounted to 8.5%.

If we see the more detailed data …

Energy from renewable sources represents for Spain 17.3% of total consumption (We are talking about the year 2016), still below the 20% target established for 2022, which places it in the group of Member States that still have not it has reached its national goal. I think we will arrive very fair!

Wind, solar and biomass energy outperform coal in the EU

The new generation of renewables increased strongly in 2022, with wind, solar and biomass power surpassing coal for the first time. Not counting on the hydroelectric potential.

They increased 12% in 2022 to 679 Terawatt hours. This is incredible progress, considering that just five years ago, coal generation was more than twice that of wind, solar and biomass.

Counting on hydroelectric generation we would have. Comparative data from 2016 - 2022.

Major inequalities in the growth of renewables in the US

The Renewable energy growth has become even more uneven across European Union countries. Only Germany and the United Kingdom contributed 56% of the growth of renewables in the last three years.

There is also a bias in favor of wind power: in 2022 there was a massive 19% increase in wind generation, due to good wind conditions and heavy investment in wind plants. This is good news since the biomass boom is over, but the bad news is that solar energy was responsible for only 14% of the growth in renewables between 2014 and 2022.

EU electricity consumption rises

Electricity consumption grew by 0.7% (23 Terawatt hours) in 2022, which represents a third consecutive year of increase. With the European economy back on a growth path, the demand for electricity is also increasing.

Industrial production increased faster than GDP in the EU, which means that economic growth was consuming more energy than normal. The EUROSTAT industrial production index for November 2022 is 4% higher than for November 2016.

This indicates that Europe's efforts on efficiency are not enough and therefore the EU's efficiency policy needs to be further strengthened.

CO2 emissions in the energy sector remain unchanged

CO2 emissions in the energy sector remained unchanged in 2022 and increased throughout the economy. Low hydroelectric and nuclear generation, coupled with increased demand, led to increasing fossil generation. Thus, despite the large increase in wind generation, it is estimated that CO2 emissions from the energy sector were unchanged at 1.019 million tonnes.

Let's remember the article from Sweden where it approved the zero emissions law for 2045.

However, total stationary emissions in the EU emissions trading sectors increased slightly, from 1750 to 1755 million tonnes, due to stronger industrial production, especially from increased steel production. Together with additional non-ETS oil and gas demand increases, we estimate that total EU greenhouse gas emissions increased by around 1% in 2022.

Energy inequalities in Europe

Western Europe is phasing out coal, but Eastern Europe is holding on to coal. Three other Member States announced the phase-out of coal in 2022: the Netherlands, Italy and Portugal. They join France and the UK in pledging to phase out coal, while Eastern European countries hang on to coal.

The debate is served in Germany, the largest consumer of coal and lignite in Europe, whose future will be decided in 2022.

Information sources:

  • Eurostat report renewable energy in the EU… HERE.
  • Report from German lobby group Agora Energiewende and UK think tank Sandbag… HERE (Very good).
  • EUROSTAT Industrial Production Index… HERE.

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