Application-based energy and emission balances for Europe

Article in et - Energiewirtschaftliche Tagesfragen, issue 12/2020

Differentiated energy statistics as a basic building block for energy system analysis

Reliable, differentiated data is one of the basic prerequisites for the targeted formulation of effective political goals and recommendations for action. With regard to energy and climate protection issues, future challenges can only be inferred through adequate quantitative recording and analysis of the current energy system and its historical development. In this context, national energy consumption and CO2 emissions represent important energy statistical data for describing the status quo, while the consumption and emissions of other, comparable nations are also of interest from a national perspective in order to be able to analyze transnational similarities or differences. For the field of energy system modeling, these energy statistical data also represent an essential input. Here, too, the validity and differentiability of the data is of paramount importance in order to be able to compare model results.

In order to be able to use energy statistics data correctly and in detail, the data, which are usually collected by national statistics offices, are reported in so-called energy balances in different categories and dimensions. The amount of energy recorded annually by an economy is often assigned to categories such as primary energy consumption, conversion input and output, or final energy consumption. The more precise and differentiated the reported data are, the more meaningful the conclusions that can be drawn on their basis.

In order to make national energy and emissions data usable for a wide range of applications and comparable across national borders, application-based energy and emissions balances for 30 European countries for the years 2014-2017 were created at the FfE as part of the eXtremOS project. The balances have a level of detail that is unprecedented at the European level, as it is possible to differentiate by sector, industry, energy source, and year both in terms of final energy consumption and emissions (energy-related CO2 emissions). In the area of CO2 emissions, an additional distinction can be made between emissions from final energy consumption and emissions from processing.

Methodology, illustrated example and availability of data

The methodical preparation of the application-oriented balances and the data sources used are described in detail in the article. The fact that an individual methodological approach was chosen for each sector means that a sector-specific, differentiated distinction can be made according to applications. The validation of the balances generated is ensured by summing up the absolute values and comparing them with national energy data at different levels of detail. As described in the publication „Energiebilanzen – Über die Vergleichbarkeit statistischer Daten und Ursachen für Unterschiede“ significant deviations in the data can be observed in some cases, especially when comparing national and international balances. For this reason, whenever discrepancies between European and national data were identified in the course of validation, the balance sheet data were adjusted to national energy statistical data.

The final energy and emission balances thus enable a differentiated analysis of national and transnational characteristics. As an example, Germany’s energy-related CO2 emissions for 2017 are shown in the figure below, differentiated by sectors and applications. Using the processed data, those applications that cause the majority of CO2 emissions per sector as well as across sectors can be directly identified. It can be seen, for example, that in the transport sector the application “mechanical energy” is responsible for almost all CO2 emissions, while the emissions of the industrial sector are predominantly divided between the applications “process heat” and “mechanical energy”. In addition, it can be seen that the CO2 emissions of the mechanical energy application in the transport sector are released directly through the combustion of the final energy carrier, while in the industrial sector they are generated overwhelmingly indirectly through the processing of the final energy carrier (in this case, electricity).

In addition to the national energy and emission compositions, the emissions and final energy consumption of different European countries can be compared and analyzed at various levels of detail. The possible uses of the balances produced also include their use as input data in energy industry models, as is the case, for example, in the eXtremOS project. For this purpose, the data is available for download on the FfE Open Data Platform in various levels of detail.

Abbildung: Beispielhafte Darstellung der energiebedingten CO2-Emissionen in Deutschland 2017 differenziert nach Anwendungen, Sektoren und Emissionsart