Emissions reductions in the EU have been mainly driven by the decreasing share of coal in primary energy consumption – from 26% in 1990 to less than 12% in 2019. Despite a small decrease, oil remained the main source of energy, providing around a third of the EU’s gross energy in 2019.
The decreasing share of coal and oil was compensated by renewable generation, the share of which increased in the same period from less than 5% to almost 16%. Natural gas also increased by 6% to reach 23.1% in 2019. But it has declined from its peak of 23.3%, reached in 2010.
The most fundamental changes have occurred in electricity and heat generation sectors. In both cases, the share of renewables increased significantly: by almost 20% and 27% respectively. The industry sector’s share of renewables has also increased, but in 2010 this source of energy covered less than 10% of directly consumed energy. Transport is the sector with the lowest share of renewables at around 5%. The current EU goal is to increase the share of renewables in the transport sector to 14% by 2030.
The EU has taken action to reduce its coal-fired electricity generation, resulting in installed capacity decreasing by 10% between 2018 and 2021. Only seven EU countries are planning to operate their coal power plants after 2030. However, this includes the two largest emitters in the EU: Poland and Germany. The latter has already adopted legislation to phase-out coal by 2038.