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Visualizing the EU’s Energy Dependency

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Visualizing the EU’s Energy Dependency

In response to Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine, the U.S. and EU have imposed heavy sanctions aimed at crippling the Russian economy. However, these bold actions also come with some potentially messy complications: Russia is not only one of the world’s largest exporters of energy products, but it is also Europe’s biggest supplier of these fuels.

As of October 2021, Russia supplied 25% of all oil imported by the EU, which is three times more than the second-largest trade partner. Naturally, the policies and circumstances that have led to this dependency have been under major scrutiny in recent weeks.

To help you learn more, this infographic visualizes energy data from Eurostat.

Energy Dependency, by Country

To start, let’s compare the energy dependence of each EU member, both in 2000 and 2020 (the latest year available). This metric shows the extent to which a country relies upon imports to meet its energy needs.

Note that Denmark’s value of -35.9% for the year 2000 is not a typo. Rather, it means that the country was a net exporter of energy.

Country20002020
🇦🇹 Austria65.5%58.3%
🇧🇪 Belgium78.2%78.0%
🇧🇬 Bulgaria46.4%37.9%
🇭🇷 Croatia48.5%53.6%
🇨🇾 Cyprus98.6%93.1%
🇨🇿 Czechia22.7%38.9%
🇩🇰 Denmark-35.9%44.9%
🇪🇪 Estonia34.0%10.6%
🇫🇮 Finland55.5%42.0%
🇫🇷 France51.2%44.5%
🇩🇪 Germany59.4%63.7%
🇬🇷 Greece69.1%81.4%
🇭🇺 Hungary55.0%56.6%
🇮🇪 Ireland85.4%71.3%
🇮🇹 Italy86.5%73.5%
🇱🇻 Latvia61.0%45.5%
🇱🇹 Lithuania57.8%74.9%
🇱🇺 Luxembourg99.6%92.5%
🇲🇹 Malta100.2%97.6%
🇳🇱 Netherlands38.3%68.1%
🇵🇱 Poland10.7%42.8%
🇵🇹 Portugal85.3%65.3%
🇷🇴 Romania21.9%28.2%
🇸🇰 Slovakia65.1%56.3%
🇸🇮 Slovenia51.9%45.8%
🇪🇸 Spain76.8%67.9%
🇸🇪 Sweden39.3%33.5%
Average56.3%57.5%

Over this 20-year timeframe, the EU-27 average country’s energy dependence has increased from 56.3% to 57.5%, meaning EU members became slightly more reliant on energy imports over those two decades.

Where Do EU’s Energy Imports Come From?

Looking further into energy imports reveals that Russia is the main supplier of crude oil, coal, and natural gas. Continue below for more details.

Crude Oil Imports

The EU imports more crude oil from Russia than the next three countries combined.

CountryPercentage of total
🇷🇺 Russia26.9%
🇮🇶 Iraq9.0%
🇳🇬 Nigeria7.9%
🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia7.7%
🇰🇿 Kazakhstan7.3%
🇳🇴 Norway7.0%
🇱🇾 Libya6.2%
🇺🇸 United States5.3%
🇬🇧 United Kingdom4.9%
🇦🇿 Azerbaijan4.5%
🇩🇿 Algeria2.4%
Others10.9%

This shouldn’t come as a surprise, as Russia was the world’s third largest producer of oil in 2020. The country has several state-owned oil companies including Rosneft and Gazprom.

Coal Imports

Coal-fired power plants are still being used across the EU, though most member states expect to completely phase them out by 2030.

CountryPercentage of total
🇷🇺 Russia46.7%
🇺🇸 United States17.7%
🇦🇺 Australia13.7%
🇨🇴 Colombia8.2%
🇿🇦 South Africa2.8%
Others10.9%

Russia has the second largest coal reserves in the world. In 2020, it mined 328 million metric tons, making it the sixth largest producer globally.

Natural Gas Imports

Natural gas is commonly used to heat buildings and water. A majority of the EU’s supply comes from Russia via the Nord Stream series of pipelines.

CountryPercentage of total
🇷🇺 Russia41.1%
🇳🇴 Norway16.2%
🇩🇿 Algeria7.6%
🇶🇦 Qatar5.2%
Others29.9%

Nord Stream 1 is the longest sub-sea pipeline in the world and was completed in 2011. It starts from the Russian city of Vyborg and connects to the EU through Germany.

Nord Stream 2 is a recently constructed expansion which was expected to double the project’s capacity. Germany has since halted the approval process for this pipeline in response to Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine.

What Happens Now?

In retaliation against Western sanctions, Russia has announced an impending ban on exports of certain goods and raw materials.

European gas prices skyrocketed in response, as many fear that Russia could cut off natural gas supplies. This, of course, would have very negative effects on both consumers and businesses.

In early March 2022, both the European Commission and the International Energy Agency (IEA) introduced proposals on how Europe could reduce its energy dependency.

We must become independent from Russian oil, coal and gas. We simply cannot rely on a supplier who explicitly threatens us.
– Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission

Cutting off one’s biggest supplier is likely to cause issues, especially when dealing with something as critical as energy. Few countries have the capacity (or willingness) to immediately replace Russian imports.

The proposals also discussed options for boosting Europe’s domestic output, though the commission’s report notably excluded nuclear power. For various reasons, nuclear remains a polarizing topic in Europe, with countries taking either a pro or anti stance.

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Energy Shift

Visualizing Global Energy Production in 2023

Fossil fuels accounted for 81% of the energy mix.

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Pie chart showing energy production by source in 2023.

Visualizing Global Energy Production in 2023

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

Global primary energy consumption reached a new record of 620 exajoules (EJ) for the second consecutive year in 2023, up from 607 exajoules in 2022.

This graphic shows the sources of energy used globally in 2023, measured in exajoules. Data is from the 2024 Statistical Review of World Energy by the Energy Institute, released in June 2024.

Fossil Fuels Accounted for 81% of the Energy Mix

Despite efforts to decarbonize the economy, fossil fuels still accounted for over 80% of the global energy mix in 2023.

Oil was responsible for 32% of the energy consumed around the world, followed by coal (26%) and then natural gas (23%).

Energy SourceConsumption in exajoulePercentage (%)Fossil Fuel
Oil19632%Yes
Coal16426%Yes
Natural Gas14423%Yes
Hydro-electric406%No
Nuclear Energy254%No
Other Renewables518%No
Total620100%

The Asia-Pacific region was responsible for nearly 80% of global coal output, with significant contributions from Australia, China, India, and Indonesia.

Global coal consumption also continued to rise, exceeding 164 EJ for the first time ever.

China remains the largest consumer of coal, accounting for 56% of the world’s total consumption. However, in 2023, India’s coal consumption exceeded the combined total of Europe and North America for the first time.

Oil consumption, in particular, rebounded strongly last year compared to 2022, largely due to China relaxing its zero-COVID lockdown policies.

Renewables’ share of total primary energy consumption reached 14.6%, an increase of 0.4% over the previous year. Together with nuclear, they represented roughly 19% of total primary energy consumption.

Renewables like solar and wind accounted for 8% of the energy generated in 2023, followed by hydroelectric (6%) and nuclear (4%).

Editor’s Note: The graphic was updated on July 16, 2024, to correct an error in the fossil fuel values.

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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.

promotional graphic that promotes the EnergyX investment site
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