New report shows big fall in Europe’s energy consumption

The European Commission’s Joint Research Centre has published the record of energy consumption reductions across Europe between 2000 and 2014. It reveals that final energy consumption across the 28 countries fell substantially.

Overall, consumption went down from 1,133 million tonnes of oil equivalent (mtoe) to just 1,061mtoe. As a result, the EU’s formal target - of cutting back to 1,086mtoe by 2020 – has been beaten six years early.

Among the most successful at achieving reductions was the UK. Energy consumption has dropped by 15.5 per cent, down to 129.8mtoe This is far lower than 50 years ago whilst living standards, as measured by gross domestic product, have soared up to three times higher.

This official report also highlights energy consumption trends across each sector. During this century, European private sector industries have led the way, delivering a 17.6 per cent reduction. Among the most successful has been the textiles industry, where final energy consumption, due largely to enhanced sustainable practices, has fallen by 60 per cent.

The residential sector has slashed consumption by just under 10 per cent. However different trends have been recorded in the transport sector (up 2.2 per cent overall, but with aviation consumption up 14.8 per cent);and in the commercial and services sector, where an alarming 16 per cent increase in energy consumption between 2000 and 2014 has been recorded.

For fifty years, continuous improvements in the energy efficiency of technologies and buildings have led the most successful revolution in improving security and resilience in the entire energy market. Given that its consumption reduction levels have fallen more than any other large European country, it is disappointing that the present UK government has made no statement whatsoever at any level regarding these successful figures. It is also indicative of the current levels of official indifference to energy efficiency.

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