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Regional insight – EU

The EU energy system in 2021

EU’s primary energy consumption remains 2.7% below 2019 levels, even as economic activity has largely recovered pointing to continued improvement in energy efficiency. Coal was the fastest-growing fuel, followed by nuclear

Fast facts

   GDP increase by 5.6% in 2021 was c.1% below 2019’s level


2    Renewables made up 25% of the power generation


3   Russia’s share of pipeline imports declined to 49%


Increase in EU’s primary energy consumption


Increase in CO2e emissions‎


Increase in total electricity generation‎


Increase in renewable primary energy

At a glance

  • Primary energy consumption increased to 60 EJ – with the share of fossil fuel at 70%, same as in 2020.
  • On an absolute basis, with a bounce back in economic activity in the EU, its consumption of all fossil fuels grew and made up 8-10% of the global consumption growth in these fuels. However, consumption of oil and coal remained below 2019 levels.
  • Oil and natural gas production declined by 7-8%, but coal production increased 7.5%.
  • EU’s reliance on imports of fossil fuel increased by 0.7% to 85%. Reliance on imports was 96%, 89% and 42% for oil, natural gas and coal respectively.
  • EU’s pipeline imports of natural gas increased 1.5% to 270 bcm. However, Russian imports decreased 12 bcm, reducing its share to 49%. This was more than made up by increase in imports from Algeria and Azerbaijan.
  • EU’s LNG imports were down 3.9% at 79 bcm but imports from the US increased 24% to 22 bcm.
  • Total electricity generation increased 4.5% to 2,895 TWh, slightly above the 2019 level.
  • The share of fossil fuels in power generation increased 0.5% to 36%, driven mainly by an increase in coal generation, which more than offset a decline in natural gas generation.
  • The growth in renewable generation slowed to 3.0%, due mainly to a decline in wind generation, which offset some of the growth in solar, geothermal and biomass generation.
  • Installed solar capacity grew by 16% in line with the growth rate in the previous decade, but installed wind capacity grew by 6.2%, slower than the growth of 8.4% in the previous decade.
  • GHG emissions from energy, process and methane increased 6.5% to 2.8 Gt of CO2e. Thus, 50% of the reduction due to Covid in 2020 was reversed.