Renewable sources have overtaken coal, oil, and gas in EU electricity generation, according to analysis from Ember , a climate think-tank. The analysis shows that in the first half of 2020, wind, solar, hydro, and bioenergy generated 40 per cent of the electricity of the member states, beating fossil fuels (coal, gas, and oil) which accounted for 34 per cent. As a result, carbon emissions from the EU’s power sector fell by nearly a quarter in the first six months of 2020.
While electricity demand in the EU fell by 7 per cent due to COVID-19, generation from renewables rose by 11 per cent, largely driven by new wind and solar installations. In Denmark, 64 per cent of electricity was generated from wind and solar.
Meanwhile, fossil-fuelled generation fell by 18 per cent, with coal bearing most of the fall. Coal-fired power generation fell in every EU country where it was part of the fuel mix.
Davy Jones, a senior electricity analyst at Ember, said that this marked “a symbolic moment” in the transition of Europe’s electricity sector.
Coal use for electricity generation fell by 95 per cent in Portugal, resulting in extended periods completely coal-free. As a result, the Portuguese Government has decided to bring forward the planned shutdown of coal-fired plants by two years to 2021. In Spain, coal-fired generation fell sharply by 58 per cent. Germany saw the biggest absolute fall in coal use.
Gas-fired power generation fell by 6 per cent, with declines in 11 countries, including significant falls in Italy and Spain.