The European Union (EU) has committed itself to reducing energy consumption by 20% by 2020 compared to projections. This objective is also known as the 20% energy efficiency target. In other words, the EU has pledged to attaining a primary energy consumption of no more than 1 483 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe) and a final energy consumption of no more than 1 086 Mtoe in 2020.
In 2016, primary energy consumption in the EU was 4% off the efficiency target. Since 1990, the first year for which data are available, the consumption has reduced by 1.7%. However, over the years, the distance from primary energy consumption target has fluctuated greatly. The biggest divergence from the target was in 2006 (16.2%, a consumption level of 1 723 Mtoe), while a record low was reached in 2014 (1.7%, 1 509 Mtoe). Over the last two years the gap rose again, to 4% above the 2020 target, equating to a consumption of 1 543 Mtoe in 2016.
In 2016, final energy consumption in the EU was 1 108 Mtoe, 2.0% above the efficiency target. Final energy consumption in the EU increased by 2.1% between 1990 (1 085 Mtoe) and 2016 (1 108 Mtoe). The lowest level of final energy consumption was recorded in 2014 (1 063 Mtoe 2.1% below the target), and highest in 2006 (1 194 Mtoe 10.0% above the target). In 2015 the EU met the efficiency target of 1 086 Mtoe, however in 2016 consumption rose again to 2% beyond the goal.
In 2016, gross inland energy consumption in the European Union, which reflects the energy quantities necessary to satisfy all inland consumption, amounted to 1 641 Mtoe. This was a 10.8% decrease compared with the peak of nearly 1 840 Mtoe in 2006, but a 6.1% increase compared to the decade between 1996 and 2006.
Energy consumption falling mainly in Greece, Malta and Romania over last decade
While 19 Member States increased their energy consumption between 1996 and 2006, growth in energy consumption was recorded in only two Member States between 2006 and 2016: Estonia (13.4% increase to 6.2 Mtoe in 2016) and Poland (3.2% increase to 99.9 Mtoe in 2016). Among the 26 Member States where energy consumption decreased, Greece (-23.6%), Malta (- 22.5%) and Romania (-20.2%) recorded decreases of more than 20%.