Renewables on the rise, coal continuously falling in EU

Although oil (34.5 %) and natural gas (23.7 %) were still the most important fuel sources in the EU energy mix in 2020, renewable energy’s share continued to rise. After surpassing coal and nuclear, renewables are on the way to becoming the most important energy source in a future EU climate-neutral economy.

In 2020, solid fossil fuels (coal) continued the downward trend of previous years and clocked another 18.3 % fall, decreasing for the fifth consecutive year. Compared with 2015, it has dropped by 40 %. Their share in the supply mix is now barely above 10%, while in 1990, it was 25.7 %.

This information comes from data released by Eurostat recently.

Oil and petroleum products (excluding blended biofuel portion) also declined by 12.6 % in 2020, reaching the lowest levels since 1990. Natural gas saw the same tendency, but on a minor scale, decreasing by 2.4 %. Nuclear fell by 10.7 , and also reached the lowest levels since 1990.

Renewable energies and biofuels continue their long-term upward trend. After surpassing solid fossil fuels and nuclear in the previous decade, the next milestone towards a more sustainable and carbon-free economy would be to exceed natural gas.

COVID-19 impact most noticeable in petroleum product

In terms of consumption, the impact of COVID-19-related restrictions in 2020 was more substantial on the use of petroleum products (-10.3 %) than on natural gas (-2.6 %) and electricity (-3.8 %).

Movement restrictions related to the pandemic affected some petroleum products more than other fuels. Kerosene-type jet fuel registered a notable drop (-48.1 %), while motor gasoline (-13.9 %) saw a smaller decrease.

Oil continues to be the most important fuel on the end-use side with a 35.0% share, followed by electricity with 23.2 % and natural gas with 21.9 %.

Visit the Eurostat database for new data (2020) on annual energy statistics, energy balances, and energy indicators, and turn on your alerts for the updated Statistics Explained articles coming out in the next 3 months. If you want to know more about the energy sector in the EU in an interactive and customisable way, you can also visit the energy visualisations page for a wide range of interactive tools, for example on monthly energy data and energy trade.

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