EU Energy Statistics

This is a very confusing subject so both journalists, politicians, as well as the general public, can easily be misled by numbers thrown around which confuse energy with electricity. You have to think in tiers or hierarchies, and be very careful not to confuse one level with another. Electricity is often only a smaller share of total energy use. In the domestic sector, most of the energy is used for heating and cooling.

1. National, federal or continental energy consumption.

2. Sector total energy use (e.g. transportation, industry, service/commercial, domestic/residential).

3. Sector by fuel type (e.g. natural gas, coal/coke, lignite, petroleum, renewable, electricity) in that country or federation.

4. Fuel type (e.g. electricity) split by end-use (e.g. space heating, space cooling, water heating, refrigeration, cooking, home electronics, lighting).

You often also have to combine statistics from different areas and separate tiers to get the complete and accurate picture. Here I’ve used EuroStat: Panorama of Energy [1] and the EuroStat statistics for the lighting part of home electricity cited in the European Commision’s Residential Lighting Consumption and Saving Potential in the Enlarged EU [2] to get the national energy consumption (level 1), residential (pritate households’) energy consumption (level 2), residential electricity consumpion (level 3) and lighting part of residential electricity consumption (level 4) for EU-27 2006 in 1 000 TOE (Tonne of Oil Equivalent):

EU energy 2006

1. EU final energy consumption 2006: 38 165 (1 000 TOE)
2. EU total household energy consumption: 8 932 = 23.4%
3. EU household electricity consumption: 1 954 = 21.9%
4. Lighting part of EU household electricity: 250 = 12.8%
Home lighting part of household total energy: 2.8%
Home lighting part of EU final energy: 0.6%

Of this 0.6%, the preparatory study by the EU Commission’s consultant firm VITO showed that the share of household incandescent lamps has decreased from 85% in 1995 to 54% 2007. [3]

Based on surveys of 500 consumers in 11 countries, the EU-27 average share per household 2007 was estimated at:

• 54% of the lamps incandescent (and decreaseing)
• 18% of the lamps low-voltage halogen (and increasing)
• 5% of the lamps mains-voltage halogen (and increaseing)
• 8% of the lamps linear flourescent
• 15% of the lamps CFL with integrated ballasts

Note that incandescent lamps were expected by the preparatory study to keep decreasing dramatically, even in the “business-as-usual” scenario (= without a ban)! [3]

54% of 12.8% = 6.9% of domestic electricity.
54% of 2.8% = 1.5% of total domestic energy use.
54%  of 0.6% of = 0.3% of EU total energy consumption.

Of this little fraction, the European Commission hopes to save 65-75% by forcing people to switch to CFLs.

But CFLs save at best 20% with heat replacement effect included = 0.06% of EU total energy consumption. And even less if we include poor power factor.

Not exactly close to the EU 2020 goal, is it?

And not all of the remaining incandescent lamps can be replaced by CFLs. The preparatory study explains why:

“…some customers have a few light points left where they prefer to keep the GLS due to barriers for CFLi as explained in chapter 3 (e.g. requirements to color rendering, sparkling effect etc.) or because of the lamp has little usage such as in cellars, staircases or storage rooms and where full lighting is also needed immediately.” [3]


1. EuroStat: Panorama of Energy (2006)

2. Residential Lighting Consumption and Saving Potential in the Enlarged EU

3. Lot 19: Domestic Lighting Part 1, Chapter 2


1 Comment

  1. Panta Rei said,

    June 2, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    The funny thing is that noone asks the BASIC question:Why all the energy effficiency regulation mania ANYWAY?There is no particular society need to save electricity!More onwards1. Electricity generation has no lack of energy!In fact if coal/gas start to run out the price goes up and renewables or long-lasting nuclear energy become more attractive anyway.2. Electricity generation has no energy security worries!It has no energy security implication that say oil (Middle East) or natural gas (Russia) has, since little of these are used for electricy generation.3. Consumers can of course choose energy efficient appliances if they like them.Inefficient types of these appliances (like lighting) have their own advantages – or noone would buy them.Light bulbs are of course extremely popular, bought around 9 times out of 10 as a free choice by consumers both in the EU and the USA, and similarly elsewhere.Cheapness is certainly part of it, but you don’t keep buying something just because it’s cheap – or avoid something just because it’s expensive – or any other expensive alternative products – whether handbags or forklift trucks- would not exist on the market.Light bulbs give out a fast responding bright broad spectrum type of light, that many like.More onwards4. Light bulbs don’t give out any gases!If emissions need to be reduced – then reduce them directly at power station level, the technology is there, including renewable energy spreadMore onwardsThe problem with banning bulbs etc is also that it is unfair on emission-free households, now and in the future, who are needlessly stopped from buying what they obviously want to use.As you say the energy savings are small anyway.Also see light bulbs really must be targeted they could be taxed.After all, this is a ban for consumption reasons, not safety reasons (light bulbs don’t give out any gases, remember!)Therefore a tax can not only reduce consumption, it gives government income at the same time – that can be used for emission lowering measures more than any remianing light bulb use causes them -while retaining consumer choice.Product taxation is not the first choice (still unfair on emission-free households) but better than bans for all concerned.Accepting that power station carbon emissions are a cause for concern on current scientific evidence,the correct choice is simply to impose emission regulation on all power plants, with due regard to consumer impact (better electricity competition in grids that lower prices,home energy/insulation schemes for consumers etc).Life can be simple and life can be hard.Either you deal directly with a problem, or you don’t….

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