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Regional insight – EU

Primary energy consumption dropped by a record of 8.5% in 2020, with coal ‎and oil declining by 19% and 14% respectively

Fast facts

   Primary energy consumption in the EU fell by 8.5% in 2020 and reached its lowest ‎level since 1984


2    The 13% drop in CO2 emissions from energy use puts these at their lowest level ‎since at least 1965


3    While the consumption of oil and gas dropped (14% and 3% respectively), the ‎largest fall was recorded by coal (19%), the share of which dropped to 11%, lower ‎than that of renewables


Fall in primary energy ‎consumption


Drop in oil consumption


Drop in coal consumption


Increase in renewables
  • Primary energy consumption fell ‎by 8.5% in 2020, the largest fall ‎ever recorded for the region.
  • The consumption of coal, oil, gas ‎and nuclear declined. The drop in ‎oil consumption (-14%) was ‎largely due to the impact of ‎restrictions on the transport ‎sector. 
  • The decrease in coal consumption ‎‎(-19%) was mostly driven by the ‎power sector where coal now ‎accounts for 13% of total ‎generation, half of its share in ‎‎2009. ‎
  • In contrast, gas demand fell by ‎only 3%, helped by resilient ‎demand in buildings and a ‎moderate drop in the power sector ‎due to low gas prices.
  • Nuclear generation dropped by 78 ‎TWh: 58% of this drop was due to ‎lower French nuclear generation. ‎This is the lowest level of EU ‎nuclear generation since 1988.
  • Renewables’ output increased by ‎‎6.7% in 2020 to 7.0 EJ and ‎accounts for 13% of primary ‎energy consumption, up from 11% ‎in 2019.‎
  • The growth in renewables was ‎driven by increases in wind (+8%) ‎and solar (+16%). 
  • Total power generation declined ‎by 4% to 2,771 TWh. Renewables ‎reached a 26% share of the ‎generation mix. Along with hydro ‎and nuclear, they represent 63% ‎of total generation, up from 49% ‎in 2009.‎
  • Domestic fuel production fell, ‎especially natural gas which ‎declined by 22% to reach 48 bcm. 
  • Net CO2 emissions from energy ‎use dropped by 13% to 2.5 Gt. ‎They were 32% lower than 1990 ‎levels against a target of 20% ‎reduction for GHG emissions for ‎‎2020.