Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply statistics - NACE Rev. 2
From Statistics Explained
- Data from April 2013. Most recent data: Further Eurostat information, Main tables and Database
This article presents an overview of statistics for the European Union’s (EU’s) electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply sector, as covered by NACE Rev. 2 Section D, hereafter referred to as the network energy supply sector.
Main statistical findings
Structural profile and Sectoral analysis
The network energy supply sector (Section D) in the EU-27 employed 1.2 million persons in 2010 and generated EUR 213.5 billion of value added. The production, transmission, distribution and trade of electricity subsector (Group 35.1, hereafter referred to as the electricity supply subsector) was by far the largest part of the network energy sector, contributing 81.8 % of sectoral value added and 74.2 % of the workforce. The manufacture, distribution and trade of gas via mains subsector (Group 35.2, hereafter referred to as the gas supply subsector) was next largest in terms of value added with a 13.6 % share, while the supply of steam and air conditioning (Group 35.3) generated the remaining 4.7 %.
The EU-27’s network energy supply sector as a whole contributed 0.9 % of all persons employed in the non-financial business economy (Sections B to J and L to N and Division 95) in 2010, but accounted for a 3.6 % share of non-financial business economy value added — almost four times as high as its share of employment. These very different shares indicate a very high apparent labour productivity within the network energy supply sector and reflect its capital-intensive nature.
The workforce of the EU-27’s network energy supply sector was the second smallest among the NACE sections within the non-financial business economy in 2010, as only in the mining and quarrying sector were fewer persons employed. However, network energy supply recorded the highest level of apparent labour productivity among the NACE sections that compose the non-financial business economy, averaging EUR 175.0 thousand per person employed in 2010, well above the non-financial business economy average of EUR 44.8 thousand per person employed. Average personnel costs for the network energy supply sector were EUR 51.0 thousand per employee (again the highest level among NACE sections within the non-financial business economy), and some EUR 20.1 thousand per employee higher than the average for the whole of the non-financial business economy (EUR 30.9 thousand per employee). The wage-adjusted labour productivity ratio combines the two previous indicators and shows the extent to which value added per person employed covers average personnel costs per employee. Due to the exceptionally high productivity and somewhat less elevated average personnel costs the EU-27's network energy supply sector recorded the second highest wage-adjusted labour productivity ratio among NACE sections within the non-financial business economy in 2010: 343.6 % compared with a non-financial business economy average of 144.8 %; mining and quarrying (Section B) was the only sector to report a higher ratio (365.0 %).
Among the three subsectors that form the network energy supply sector the highest apparent labour productivity was recorded for the gas supply subsector (EUR 200.0 thousand per person employed in 2009), closely followed by the electricity supply subsector (EUR 192.9 thousand per person employed in 2010). By contrast, apparent labour productivity was considerably lower for the supply of steam and air conditioning (EUR 63.5 thousand per person employed in 2010), which was still well above the non-financial business economy average (EUR 44.8 thousand per person employed).
In a similar vein, average personnel costs were also higher for the electricity supply subsector (EUR 54.9 thousand per employee) and the gas supply subsector (EUR 50.0 thousand per employee) than for the supply of steam and air conditioning (EUR 30.0 thousand per employee).
In terms of its contribution to the non-financial business economy, the network energy supply sector was generally more important in central and eastern European countries. In value added terms its contribution in 2010 was highest in Bulgaria where it accounted for 8.1 %, while its relative shares in Latvia (8.0 %), Slovakia (7.6 %), the Czech Republic (7.3 %), Lithuania (7.1 %), Poland (7.1 %) and Romania (also 7.1 %) were also well above the EU-27 average (3.6 %). The majority of the EU-15 Member States reported that the network energy supply sector contributed between 2.5 % and 5.0 % to non-financial business economy value added; this was also true of Norway and Croatia. There were two EU-15 Member States below this range (data for Germany and Greece are not available): the Netherlands (2.3 %) and, at a much lower rate, Luxembourg (1.4 %). Among the non-member countries shown in Figure 2, Switzerland recorded the lowest contribution (2.7 %) to non-financial business economy value added made by the network energy supply sector.
An analysis of the relative weight of the network energy supply sector in non-financial business economy employment shows that the highest proportions were recorded in Romania (2.2 %), and in Lithuania and Latvia (both 2.0 %), but that the contribution of the network energy supply sector to the non-financial business economy workforce was less than 0.5 % in the Netherlands, Spain and Portugal. German data are available for this indicator, with a 0.9 % share of the German non-financial business economy workforce being employed in the network energy supply sector in 2010 (in line with the EU-27 average). Among the non-member countries for which 2010 data are available, the network energy supply sector provided a slightly higher share of the non-financial business economy workforce than the EU-27 average, rising to a peak of 1.5 % in Croatia.
The network energy supply sector appears less concentrated in terms of the contribution made by the five largest EU Member States towards its value added (when compared with the non-financial business economy average) — however, it is important to note that there is no information available for Germany and hence a more balanced picture can be drawn from an analysis of employment shares. These were more or less in line with the non-financial business economy average, although Poland accounted for a relatively high share (13.3 %) of EU-27 employment in the network energy supply sector, while the same country provided a much smaller (5.5 %) share of EU-27 value added in the network energy supply sector.
The capital-intensive nature of the network energy supply sector may be observed when analysing the investment rate (the ratio of investment in tangible goods to value added). This rate was consistently higher for the network energy supply sector in each of the Member States for which 2010 data are available when compared with the investment rate for the whole of the non-financial business economy. The investment rate for the network energy supply sector was between three and four times as high as the average for the non-financial business economy in the United Kingdom, Slovenia and the Netherlands, rising to 6.9 times as high in Luxembourg, and peaking at 7.7 times as high in Cyprus.
As noted above for the EU-27 aggregate, the wage-adjusted labour productivity of the network energy supply sector was particularly high. This was true in each of the Member States, with the lowest ratio in France (206.2 %). Wage-adjusted labour productivity ratios for the energy supply sector in the Czech Republic, Spain, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Portugal, Slovakia and Sweden were higher than for any other NACE division within the non-financial business economy in 2010, peaking at 738.9 % in the Czech Republic.
An analysis of the three subsectors shows that the electricity supply subsector was particularly large in Bulgaria, where its contribution to non-financial business economy value added was 2.5 times as high as the EU-27 average. Slovakia’s specialisation in gas supply was even greater, as this subsector contributed 4.1 times as much to Slovakian non-financial business economy value added as the EU-27 average. An analysis of the specialisation in the supply of steam and air conditioning subsector shows a group of very specialised Member States composed mainly of Nordic, Baltic and central European Member States — most notably Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, the Czech Republic, Sweden and Romania — while there was also a group of countries with very little or no activity in this subsector, including Belgium, Ireland, Cyprus and Portugal; each of these countries reported value added in this subsector of less than EUR 10 million in 2010.
Size class analysis
The network energy supply sector is dominated by large enterprises (with 250 or more persons employed) — which is perhaps unsurprising given the considerable investment required for long-term projects that aim to develop production facilities and distribution networks.
There were 616 large enterprises within the EU-27‘s network energy supply sector in 2010. Together they employed almost a million persons — equivalent to almost four out of every five (79.0 %) persons employed. In terms of their contribution to sectoral value added, the share of large enterprises was broadly similar, at 76.7 %. The relative importance of large enterprises to the network energy supply sector can be seen by comparing with the overall contribution of large enterprises to the non-financial business economy workforce (32.5 %) and non-financial business economy value added (42.3 %). Indeed, the relative importance (in both employment and value added terms) of large enterprises was higher for the network energy supply sector than for any of the other NACE sections that make-up the non-financial business economy.
Large enterprises accounted for more than nine out of ten persons within the network energy supply sector’s workforce in Cyprus, France and the United Kingdom. They provided more than half of the network energy supply sector’s workforce in each of the EU Member States for which 2010 data are available, other than Finland, where their share was 46.4 % — this was still well above the next highest share of the other size classes in Finland, which was 30.9 % recorded for medium-sized enterprises (employing from 50 to 249 persons). In neighbouring Norway, large enterprises in the network energy supply sector accounted for just over one quarter (28.4 %) of the sectoral workforce in 2010, with a far higher share (40.4 %) for medium-sized enterprises (that employed 50 to 249 persons).
Across the EU Member States, the distribution of value added by enterprise size class was generally quite similar to that recorded for employment. However, micro enterprises (employing fewer than 10 persons) in Denmark recorded a higher share (46.7 %) of sectoral value added in the network energy supply sector than large enterprises (39.9 %). For each of the remaining Member States for which data are available, large enterprises accounted for more than 50 % of sectoral value added, peaking in France and Cyprus, where more than 90 % of the value added in the network energy supply sector was generated by large enterprises. In Norway, while large enterprises contributed the highest share (40.1 %) to sectoral value added, they did not account for the majority of the added value. In Switzerland, sectoral value added in the network energy supply sector was split equally between large enterprises and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), both accounting for a 50.0 % share of the total.
The French capital city region of the Île de France recorded the highest number of persons employed, across NUTS level 2 regions within the EU-27, for the network energy supply sector in 2010. With 149.5 thousand persons, the Île de France accounted for nearly 13 % of the total number of persons employed in the EU-27 in this sector. The second highest number of persons employed (23.4 thousand) was recorded for Śląskie in southern Poland (whose capital city is Katowice), while the third highest level of employment was also recorded in Poland — the capital city region of Mazowieckie, 19.2 thousand persons. Among the top 20 regions with the highest levels of employment for the network energy supply sector, the remaining 17 regions included five additional regions in Poland, four regions in Romania, two regions each in Spain and Italy, one region each in Bulgaria and the United Kingdom, as well as Latvia and Lithuania (which are single regions at NUTS level 2). As such, and contrary to most of the other NACE sections within the non-financial business economy, the highest levels of labour input for the network energy supply sector were often recorded in regions located in the Member States that joined the EU in 2004 or 2007.
The relative importance of the network energy supply sector can be analysed by comparing the employment of this sector with the non-financial business economy workforce. Among the 188 NUTS level 2 regions for which data are available in 2010, the median share of the network energy supply sector in the non-financial business economy workforce was 0.7 %. In the vast majority of regions, the network energy supply sector accounted for less than 2.0 % of the non-financial business economy workforce. Indeed, the network energy supply accounted for 2.0 % or more of the non-financial business economy workforce in just 13 of the 188 regions for which data are available across the EU-27.
In keeping with the ranking of employment levels, the contribution of the network energy supply sector to non-financial business economy employment was relatively high in several regions located in Member States that joined the EU in 2004 or 2007. The highest share, by far, was recorded in the south-west of Romania in Sud-Vest Oltenia (where the network energy supply sector employed 4.5 % of the non-financial business economy workforce). It was followed by the French capital city region of the Île de France (2.7 %), the Sud-Est (south-east) region of Romania (2.6 %) and the north-eastern Polish region of Podlaskie (2.5 %); these were the only other regions to report at least 2.5 % of their non-financial business economy workforce employed in the network energy supply sector. Four additional Polish regions, two Hungarian regions, one Romanian region, as well as Latvia and Lithuania each reported that between 2.0 % and 2.5 % of their non-financial business economy workforce was employed by the network energy supply sector.
At the other end of the range, there were 59 NUTS level 2 regions in the EU-27 (subject to data availability) where the network energy supply sector accounted for less than 0.5 % of the non-financial business economy workforce in 2010. Eight of these had less than 0.05 % of their non-financial business economy workforce operating within the network energy supply sector, all of which were in predominantly rural regions of France — Champagne-Ardenne, Auvergne, Limousin, Basse-Normandie, Corse, Bretagne, Pays de la Loire, and Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur.
Data sources and availability
The electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply sector, NACE Rev. 2 Section D, referred to in this article as the network energy supply sector, concerns the provision of electric power, natural gas, steam, hot water and the like through a network (permanent infrastructure) of lines, mains and pipes. Apart from transmission and distribution through a network, this activity also includes the generation of electric power and the production of steam, hot or chilled water and cooled air.
The network energy supply sector comprises three NACE groups, as follows:
- the production, transmission, distribution and trade of electricity (Group 35.1), which can be generated from fossil, nuclear or renewable fuels;
- the manufacture, distribution and trade of gas via mains (Group 35.2), excluding the (typically long-distance) transport of gas through pipelines, the bulk sale and transport of gaseous fuels or its distribution in canisters, and also the manufacture of refined petroleum products and industrial gases;
- the supply of steam and air conditioning (Group 35.3), including the production, collection and distribution of steam and hot water (for example, for heating and power), cooled air, chilled water for cooling and ice; this network distribution of steam and hot water may be for the purpose of city heating, also known as district heating.
The analysis presented in this article is based on the main dataset for structural business statistics (SBS), size class data and regional data, all of which are published annually.
The main series provides information for each EU Member State as well as a number of non-member countries at a detailed level according to the activity classification NACE. Data are available for a wide range of variables.
In structural business statistics, size classes are generally defined by the number of persons employed. A limited set of the standard structural business statistics variables (for example, the number of enterprises, turnover, persons employed and value added) are analysed by size class, mostly down to the three-digit (group) level of NACE. The main size classes used in this article for presenting the results are:
- small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs): with 1 to 249 persons employed, further divided into;
- micro enterprises: with less than 10 persons employed;
- small enterprises: with 10 to 49 persons employed;
- medium-sized enterprises: with 50 to 249 persons employed;
- large enterprises: with 250 or more persons employed.
Regional SBS data are available at NUTS levels 1 and 2 for most of the EU Member States, Norway and Croatia, mostly down to the two-digit (division) level of NACE. The main variable analysed in this article is the number of persons employed. The type of statistical unit used for regional SBS data is normally the local unit, which is an enterprise or part of an enterprise situated in a geographically identified place. Local units are classified into sectors (by NACE) normally according to their own main activity, but in some EU Member States the activity code is assigned on the basis of the principal activity of the enterprise to which the local unit belongs. The main SBS data series are presented at national level only, and for this national data the statistical unit is the enterprise. It is possible for the principal activity of a local unit to differ from that of the enterprise to which it belongs. Hence, national SBS data from the main series are not necessarily directly comparable with national aggregates compiled from regional SBS.
The EU’s gas and electricity internal markets have been changing through the requirements of the second and third electricity and gas directives adopted in 2003 and July 2009. The aim of opening-up European energy markets to competition has been to provide households and business with greater choice, lower prices, better service and improved security of supply. By 3 March 2011, these gas and electricity directives had to be transposed into national law by Member States and three Regulations (one on conditions for access to the natural gas transmission networks, one on conditions for access to the network for cross-border exchanges in electricity, and one on the establishment of an agency for the cooperation of energy regulators) became applicable on that date.
Policies related to energy and to climate change are particularly important for many parts of the network energy supply sector. The EU aims to become a low-carbon, energy-efficient economy in the coming decades. The integrated energy and climate change policy laid out in December 2008 aims to cut greenhouse gases by 20 %, reduce energy consumption by 20 % through increased energy efficiency and to meet 20 % of the EU's energy needs from renewable sources by 2020 — these goals will have implications on the way network energy suppliers operate.
In March 2010, the Europe 2020 strategy was adopted: this is the EU's strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. It is a strategy to enhance the competitiveness of the EU and to create more growth and jobs. A resource-efficient Europe is one of the flagship initiatives of this strategy that aims to support the shift towards a resource-efficient, low-carbon economy to achieve sustainable growth. Within this broad initiative are several energy related initiatives. The Energy 2020 strategy for competitive, sustainable and secure energy was adopted in November 2010 by the European Commission. It defines energy priorities through until 2020 and sets out actions to be taken in order to tackle the challenges of saving energy, achieve a market with competitive prices and secure supplies, boost technological leadership, and effectively negotiate with international partners. Energy infrastructure priorities for 2020 and beyond were adopted at the same time and are intended to serve as a blueprint for an integrated European energy network which defines EU priority corridors for the transport of electricity, gas and oil. In March 2011 the European Commission adopted the Energy efficiency plan 2011: energy efficiency is seen as one of the most cost-effective ways to enhance security of energy supply and to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants. In April 2011, the European Commission adopted the Communication Smart grids: from innovation to deployment which sets out policy directions to stimulate the deployment of electricity networks making use of progress in information and communication technologies to make electricity distribution more efficient and so reduce costs and emissions.
With its Roadmap for moving to a competitive low-carbon economy in 2050, the European Commission has looked beyond short-term objectives and set out a cost-effective pathway for achieving much deeper emission cuts by the middle of the 21st century. The EU is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to a level 80–95 % below 1990 levels by 2050, given that there are also necessary reductions by other developed economies. In an Energy Roadmap 2050 (COM(2011) 885 final) the European Commission explored the possible challenges that may be faced in order to meet the EU's decarbonisation objective, while at the same time ensuring security of energy supply and competitiveness.
Further Eurostat information
- European business - facts and figures (online publication)
- Key figures on European Business – with a special feature section on SMEs – 2011 edition
- SBS - industry and construction (sbs_ind_co)
- Annual detailed enterprise statistics - industry and construction (sbs_na_ind)
- Annual detailed enterprise statistics for industry (NACE Rev.2 B-E) (sbs_na_ind_r2)
- Preliminary results on industry and construction, main indicators (NACE Rev.2) (sbs_na_r2preli)
- SMEs - Annual enterprise statistics broken down by size classes - industry and construction (sbs_sc_ind)
- Industry broken down by employment size classes (NACE Rev.2 B-E) (sbs_sc_ind_r2)
- Annual detailed enterprise statistics - industry and construction (sbs_na_ind)
- SBS - regional data - all activities (sbs_r)
- SBS data by NUTS 2 regions and NACE Rev.2, from 2008 onwards (sbs_r_nuts06_r2)
- Decision 1578/2007/EC of 11 December 2007 on the Community Statistical Programme 2008 to 2012
- Regulation 295/2008 of 11 March 2008 concerning structural business statistics
Source data for tables and figures (MS Excel)
- My rights - energy