On 6 May, the statistical office of the European Union, Eurostat, has reported that the usage and the supply of energy in the EU has fluctuated throughout 2020. Since early 2020, restrictive measures have been taken to slow down the spread of COVID-19. These measures included the closure of factories, schools and restaurants, and required people to confine themselves in their homes. In late spring, many EU Member States began removing some restrictions following the first signs of recovery. By late autumn, however, the second COVID-19 wave had started and restrictive measures were again put in place. The EU’s fuel supply was adversely affected by these measures.
Inland deliveries of petroleum products
The oil industry was affected most by the pandemic and striking differences between 2020 and 2019 were evident. The most dramatic differences were seen in the deliveries of fuels for transport. In April 2020, deliveries of kerosene-type jet fuel dropped by more than 80% compared to the same month in 2019, while motor gasoline recorded a drop of nearly 50%. Gas oil and diesel oil also recorded a decrease of 20% over the same period. The reintroduction of restrictions by many Member States in autumn 2020 did not influence the deliveries of these fuels as much.
Inland deliveries of gas and coal
Natural gas is used in the production of electricity and heat, and in the EU, close to a quarter of all electricity produced is generated from natural gas. The restrictions imposed by many EU Member States in spring 2020 had a larger impact on gas deliveries than the restrictions reintroduced in many countries in the second half of the year. In April 2020, the deliveries of gas decreased by 16% compared to April 2019, but by the end of 2020, the gas deliveries had completely returned to last year’s levels.
The production of hard coal is being phased out in many EU countries, for example by Germany and Spain, however, most EU countries still consume hard coal. Although the EU is using less coal overall, in 2020 close to two thirds of the coal used was delivered to electricity and heat generation plants.
A slight dip in inland deliveries of hard coal was observed in April and May. For brown coal, however, the reduction in deliveries was even more obvious during these months.
The analysis published by Eurostat shows that despite efforts to abandon fossil fuels as soon as possible, the EU and its Member States had to use fossil fuels to immediately respond to the closures and re-openings of the European economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is in the best interest of both the European Union and the heavily-impacted countries all around the world that fossil fuel sources are replaced by renewable and highly-efficient energy sources as the speed of the pandemic is being curbed by the hastening of the global vaccine rollout. ECOPNET (European Cooperation and Partnership Network) supports emerging of new technologies in the field of energy and funds provided by the European Union in this regard and shares these technologies with its partners to contribute to this foundational change. If you wish to take part in this joint effort, check our Working Groups on Green Deal and Energy!
Source: Eurostat News Corner