Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean

Renewables surpass fossil fuels in EU27 electricity generation for the first time

Written by Frédéric Dubessy on Thursday, July 23rd 2020 à 14:51 | Read 168 times

According to the Ember think-tank, renewable energies provided more electricity than fossil fuels in EU countries in the first six months of 2020. The end of coal is on the horizon and Mediterranean countries are leading the way. version française

EU. According to data from a survey carried out by the Ember think tank, the results of which were delivered on Wednesday 22 July 2020, renewable energies supplied more electricity than fossil fuels in the EU Member States over the first six months of 2020. This is a first.

"This marks a symbolic moment in the transition of the electricity sector in Europe," commented Dave Jones, senior analyst at Ember. CO2 emissions in the European Union are estimated to have fallen by around 23%.

From January to June 2020, renewables produced 40% of electricity (+11%) in the EU27, compared with 34% for fossil fuels. Wind power increased its production by 11%, solar power by 16% and hydroelectricity by 12%.

At the same time, fossil fuels fell by 18% due to a 7% drop in demand for electricity caused by Covid-19, the rise in renewables and very mild January and February. "Wind and solar power alone reached a record 21% of total electricity production in Europe, with even higher penetration in Denmark (64%), Ireland (49%) and Germany (42%)," the paper says.

Coal production down 95% in Portugal

Renewables surpass fossil fuels in EU27 electricity generation for the first time

These results are mainly due to the replacement of coal by wind and solar energy. And even the trend towards its gradual elimination. Its market share has halved since 2016 and now stands at 12% in the EU, with a drop in the first half of 2020 of 32%. Southern Europe stands out in this respect. The production of coal for electricity has fallen by 48% in Greece, 58% in Spain and 95% in Portugal (which will close its last two power stations by November 2021). Poland has overtaken Germany in this field and now produces as much as the other twenty-five combined. Unlike Germany, "it has no plan to phase out coal," regrets Ember.
Gas production has fallen by 6% in 11 countries.

This match won by renewables is also based on other factors: the mild weather in the second quarter of 2020 for solar power, a very windy February and wetter Iberian and northern regions, which have allowed hydroelectric production to increase. And of course the consequences of the coronavirus, with the near halt in the economy and transport.

However, Ember notes other, less positive effects on the energy of the Covid-19. "It will slow down new wind and solar installations this year. There will be fewer solar installations in Europe in 2020 and wind installations are likely to be around 30% lower than expected". Although both renewable energy sources are expected to double or triple in the 2020s compared to the previous decade, the think-tank predicts.

See the full report "Renewables trump fossil fuels" published by Ember.



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