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Europe’s Gas Storage Compared to Historical Consumption

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Europe's gas storage levels

Europe’s Gas Storage Compared to Historical Consumption

In the wake of the energy crisis, Europe has been rushing to cut ties with Russian gas.

In 2021, Russia accounted for around 45% of the EU’s gas imports. As of August 2022, that figure was around 17%.

However, reducing reliance on Russian gas after years of dependence has put Europe in a precarious situation ahead of winter. To reduce the possibility of an energy crunch in the heating season, the EU bloc set a target to fill 80% of its underground gas storage by November 1.

This infographic puts Europe’s current gas storage levels in perspective by comparing them with annual gas consumption in 2021, based on data from Gas Infrastructure Europe as of November 28, 2022.

Heat For the Winter

As winter approaches, many European countries have near-full gas storage levels, with the overall EU gas storage 94% full. But comparing storage with annual consumption paints a different picture.

CountryTotal Storage Capacity (TWh)% of Storage FilledStorage as a % of Annual Consumption
🇺🇦 Ukraine*32530%38%
🇩🇪 Germany24699%27%
🇮🇹 Italy19392%25%
🇳🇱 Netherlands13989%35%
🇫🇷 France13498%30%
🇦🇹 Austria9695%100%
🇭🇺 Hungary6883%52%
🇨🇿 Czech Republic4496%46%
🇸🇰 Slovakia3991%67%
🇵🇱 Poland3698%15%
🇪🇸 Spain3597%10%
🇷🇴 Romania3394%27%
🇱🇻 Latvia2459%122%
🇩🇰 Denmark1098%42%
🇬🇧 UK*10100%1%
🇧🇪 Belgium8100%5%
🇧🇬 Bulgaria693%16%
🇭🇷 Croatia595%16%
🇵🇹 Portugal498%7%
🇸🇪 Sweden0.193%1%
EU 🇪🇺111994%28%

*Ukraine and UK are non-EU countries. Nine EU countries that are not on the list do not have any gas storage sites.

Ukraine has the largest storage capacity, and while it’s only 30% full, it represents nearly 40% of the country’s annual gas consumption. However, Russia’s continuing attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure may squeeze supplies as temperatures drop.

The Nations at Risk of Running Low on Gas

Germany, Europe’s biggest economy and largest importer of Russian gas, has almost completely filled its gas storage. Despite this, storage supplies only amount to 27% of annual German gas consumption. Given that half of all German households use natural gas for heating, these stocks are especially important as winter peaks.

While storage facilities in countries like Poland, Spain, and Belgium are over 90% full, they represent only a fraction of annual gas consumption at 15%, 10%, and 5% respectively. Meanwhile, countries like Austria and Latvia have stored more gas than they consume in an entire year.

The UK’s gas storage is full but makes up just 1% of its annual consumption. The majority of UK homes rely on gas for heating, and it also accounts for 30% of electricity generation. A gas crunch could lead to both higher heating and electricity prices for UK residents.

What’s Next for Europe’s Gas Crisis?

This year, warmer-than-normal temperatures and efforts to reduce gas consumption have both played important roles in controlling Europe’s energy crisis before winter sets in.

However, the region’s reliance on Russia was decades in the making, and replacing it won’t be easy. EU countries’ gas storage sites are likely to be depleted by the spring of 2023. Without pipeline gas from Russia, Europe will have limited import capacity, and filling gas storage sites for next winter could be challenging.

Europe is undertaking a number of initiatives to combat the crisis. Countries in the region (including the UK) have pledged over $700 billion to reduce energy costs for households and to meet the liquidity needs of power companies. This, along with lower consumer demand due to high gas prices, will help lessen the impacts of the crisis in the short term.

However, looking ahead to 2023 and 2024, if gas prices remain high, industrial production is likely to fall as producers cut costs. Combined with low consumer confidence and high inflation, a fall in industrial output will likely exacerbate a potential recession, should things unfold that way.

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Energy Shift

Visualized: The Growth of Clean Energy Stocks

Visual Capitalist partnered with EnergyX to analyze five major clean energy stocks and explore the factors driving this growth.

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This line chart shows the growth of clean energy stocks and hints at their cumulative five-year returns.

The Growth of Clean Energy Stocks

Over the last few years, energy investment trends have shifted from fossil fuels to renewable and sustainable energy sources. Long-term energy investors now see significant returns from clean energy stocks, especially compared to those invested in fossil fuels alone.

For this graphic, Visual Capitalist has collaborated with EnergyX to examine the rise of clean energy stocks and gain a deeper understanding of the factors driving this growth.

Sustainable Energy Stock Performance

In 2023, the IEA reported that 62% of all energy investment went toward sustainable sources. As the world embraces sustainable energy and technologies like EVs, it’s no surprise that clean energy companies provide solid returns for their investors over long periods.

Taking the top-five clean energy stocks by market cap (as of April 2024) and charting their five-year cumulative returns, it is clear that investments in clean energy are growing:

CompanyPrice: 01/04/2019Price: 12/29/20245-Year-Return %
First Solar, Inc.$46.32$172.28272%
Enphase Energy, Inc.$5.08$132.142,501%
Consolidated Edison, Inc.$76.55$90.9719%
NextEra Energy, Inc.$43.13$60.7441%
Brookfield Renewable Partners$14.78$26.2878%
promotional graphic with a button and wheel that promotes the EnergyX investment site

But how does this compare to the performance of fossil fuel stocks?

When comparing the performance of the S&P Global Oil Index and the S&P Clean Energy Index between 2019 and 2023, we see that the former returned 15%, whereas the latter returned an impressive 41%. This trend demonstrates the potential for clean energy stocks to yield significant returns on an industry level, sparking optimism and excitement for potential investors.

A Shift In Returns

With global investment trends moving away from traditional, non-sustainable sources, the companies that could shape the energy transition provide investors with alternative opportunities and avenues for growth.

One such company is EnergyX. The lithium technology company has patented a groundbreaking technology that can improve lithium extraction rates by an incredible 300%, and its stock price has grown tenfold since its first offering in 2021.

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Energy Shift

Visualized: A Decade of Clean Energy Investment

In this graphic, Visual Capitalist has partnered with EnergyX to explore the growth of global clean energy investment.

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Visualized: A Decade of Clean Energy Investment

Global energy investment is growing every year. But recently, investments in clean energy have been significantly outpacing investments in fossil fuels.

For this graphic, we partnered with EnergyX to explore how global energy investment has changed and learn how investments in clean energy are starting to pay off for their investors.

The Rise of Sustainable Energy Investment

Propelled by various climate initiatives such as the Paris Agreement and the widespread adoption of EVs, global investment in sustainable energy surged to over $1.7 trillion in 2023, the highest ever, and the IEA projects that this growth could continue:

Energy Product20202021202220232030F
Clean Electrification$0.97T$1.05$1.21T$1.34T$1.65T
Low-Emission Fuels$0.01T$0.01$0.01T$0.02T$0.05T
Energy Efficiency$0.28T$0.35$0.39T$0.38T$0.49T
Clean Energy Total$1.26T$1.41T$1.61T$1.74T$2.19T
Natural Gas$0.26T$0.27T$0.31T$0.32T$0.35T
Oil$0.42T$0.48T$0.52T$0.55T$0.60T
Coal$0.16T$0.16T$0.18T$0.18T$0.11T
Fossil Fuel Total$0.84T$0.91T$1.01T$1.05T$1.06T
Total Energy Investment$2.10T$2.32T$2.62T$2.79T$3.25T
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Between 2020 and 2030, global investment in sustainable energy could increase by 74% to nearly $2.2 trillion, compared to just 26% additional investment in fossil fuels, with a forecast total of $1.06 trillion. This shows that sustainability is the future of energy investment.

Sustainable Investor Success Stories

While the growing investments in clean energy show that the world embraces sustainability, energy investors will still look for decent returns. Now, in 2024, clean energy investments are beginning to bear fruit. Here are just a few examples:

  • Between 2019 and 2023, Tesla had a cumulative return of 1,073%
  • NextEra Energy’s quarterly dividend increased by over 10% as of February 2024
  • Investors in EnergyX have 10x’ed their investments since the company’s first offering in 2021

Lithium plays a critical role in powering electric vehicles (EVs) and facilitating the transition to sustainable energy. EnergyX has patented technology that enhances lithium extraction rates by up to 300%, contributing to meeting the growing demand for lithium and fueling the EVs of the future.

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