Europe’s long goodbye to coal is speeding up, in a transition smoothed by the rise of wind and solar power and energy policy that has priced the fossil fuel out of many markets, according to data released on Wednesday. Centuries after powering Europe’s industrial revolution, coal cannot compete with less polluting fuels to generate electricity, prompting governments and companies to close mines and plants. Renewable sources of power have taken over for the first time in 2020, generating 40% of European Union electricity, while fossil fuels generated 34%, independent think-tank Ember said in a half-yearly report.
Reuters 22nd July 2020 read more »
For the last seven years, Ember has published an annual report into the European power sector. This mid-year analysis aggregates electricity grid data from ENTSO-E. We then curate the data to make a robust analysis of Europe’s electricity system. Renewable electricity generation exceeded fossil fuel generation, for the first time ever. In the first half of 2020, renewables – wind, solar, hydro and bioenergy – generated 40% of the EU-27’s electricity, whereas fossil fuels generated 34%. Renewables rose by 11%. This was driven by new wind and solar installations and favourable conditions during a mild and windy start to the year. Wind and solar alone reached a record of 21% of Europe’s total electricity generation, and reached even higher penetration in Denmark (64%), Ireland (49%) and Germany (42%). Although electricity grids have coped well with record wind and solar penetrations, negative prices are highlighting inflexibilities in supply and demand that need to be addressed. Fossil fuels fell by 18%. Fossil was squeezed on two fronts: by rising renewable generation and a 7% fall in electricity demand due to COVID-19. Coal took the brunt, falling by 32%. Of that, hard coal generation fell 34% and lignite fell 29%. Even gas generation registered a fall of 6%, falling in eleven countries. As a result, EU-27 power sector CO2 emissions fell by about 23%. Germany’s coal generation collapses below Poland’s for the first time. Poland now generates more coal-fired electricity than Germany, and also as much as the remaining 25 EU countries combined. Whilst most other countries, including Germany, have a plan to phase out coal, Poland doesn’t yet have a plan.
Ember 22nd July 2020 read more »