Energy statistics is in spotlight due to its strategic importance to the agenda of competitive and sustainable economic growth. In recent years the European Union faced several important energy issues that have pushed energy towards the top of national and European political agendas and where energy statistics provided crucial information for policy makers: the volatility in oil prices, interruptions of energy supply from non-member countries, blackouts aggravated by inefficient connections between national electricity networks, and the difficulties of market access for suppliers in relation to gas and electricity markets. These issues have pushed energy towards the top of national and European political agendas.
In 2009 a major policy package was adopted and become a binding legislation known as the 20-20-20 targets. This ‘climate and energy package’ includes the following targets for 2020:
- A reduction in EU greenhouse gas emissions of at least 20% below 1990 levels;
- At least 20% of EU gross final energy consumption to come from renewable energy sources;
- At least 10% of transport final energy consumption to come from renewable energy sources;
- A 20% reduction in primary energy use compared with projected levels, to be achieved by improving energy efficiency.
The use of renewable energy sources is seen as a key element in energy policy, reducing the dependence on fuel imported from non-EU countries, reducing emissions from fossil fuel sources, and decoupling energy costs from oil prices. Directive 2009/28/EC on promotion of the use of energy from renewable energy sources established accounting criteria for the 2020 targets on renewable energy sources.
In order to meet the increasing requirements of policy makers for energy monitoring, Eurostat has developed a coherent and harmonised system of energy statistics. Annual data collection covers the 27 Member States of the EU, the candidate countries of Croatia and Turkey, and the European Economic Area countries of Iceland and Norway; time-series run back to 1985 for some countries, but are more generally available from 1990. As of October 2008, monthly and annual energy data collections are governed by Regulation (EC) No 1099/2008 on energy statistics.