After the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the EU saw a steep reduction in energy consumption and emissions, that began to reverse in late 2020. CO2 emissions increased for 16 straight months, from February 2021 to June 2022, and then began to fall for the first time.
With the fossil fuel supply crunch caused by Russia’s decision to limit gas exports to Europe, there were widespread expectations that the EU would boost coal use to the extent that emissions would in fact go up. This had not come to pass by October 2022 — read our briefing on emissions trends in the EU up to that point.
Temperature-corrected electricity and gas demand
To understand the trends in energy demand, it’s important to untangle the impact of weather variations and changes in consumption patterns. The changes in “temperature-corrected” demand indicate changes in underlying demand patterns, after the effect of temperatures is removed.
We derive temperature-corrected demand from regression models that predict variations in demand based on the cooling and heating needs in each EU member state. The need for heating and cooling is measured using a metrics called cooling-degrees and heating-degrees, meaning degrees above 24°C and below 15°C, respectively. These are calculated daily, on population-weighted national average basis, from gridded temperature and population data.
Our regression models are able to account for 90% daily variation of gas demand and 80% power demand using the model, so that gives us high confidence that we’re successfully capturing the effect of weather.
We track daily power generation data from the transparency platform of ENTSO-E, the European power grid operator. Emissions are estimated from power output based on average emissions from coal and gas-fired generation by country. These are derived by aligning the daily power generation data with earlier Eurostat monthly data on hard coal, lignite and gas use for power generation.
Gas consumption is obtained from daily data on gas flows from ENTSOG, the European gas network operator. We calculate “apparent consumption”, which is the residual of imports from outside the EU, domestic production and flows into and out of storage.
For total oil consumption and for coal consumption outside the power sector, we extend the latest monthly data for each country, based on the average deviation from the 2019–2021 average in the past three months. For oil, consumption is based on observed gross inland deliveries, a measure of implied oil consumption based on refinery output, imports, exports and stock changes, as well as deliveries of crude oil and natural gas liquids to non-refinery users, along with several smaller flows (see full definition). For coal, usage is based on final consumption reported by (industrial) users and sales to residential and commercial consumers reported by sellers. Currently, data is available for most countries until the end of August 2022.