Wednesday 30 August 2023

EU fossil generation hits rock bottom

EU fossil generation hits rock bottom

Fossil fuel generation in the EU has reached an unprecedented low due to a decline in electricity demand.

New data from the think tank Ember reveals that between January and June, fossil fuel power output amounted to 410TWh in the EU, constituting the smallest ever portion of the power mix at 33%

The drop can be attributed to a 4.6% decrease (-61TWh) in demand, prompted by factors like elevated gas and power prices, reduced industrial activity and a combination of winter measures to curtail consumption.

Consequently, electricity demand stood at 1,261TWh, dipping below both the 2020 pandemic low and the lowest point since at least 2008 for current EU member states.

Fossil fuels underwent a 17% contraction in the first half of the year, declining by 86TWh compared to the same period in 2022.

This trend was evident across Europe, with eleven nations experiencing a decline of over 20%, and five countries (Portugal, Austria, Bulgaria, Estonia and Finland) witnessing drops of more than 30%.

For the first half of the year, fourteen EU countries registered their lowest fossil generation levels on record, according to the report.

Coal generation, in particular, plummeted by a significant 23% year-on-year (-49TWh) in the EU during the first six months.

Similarly, gas generation decreased by 13% (-33TWh).

The shift away from coal was further underscored as coal's contribution to the EU's electricity generation dropped below 10% for the first time ever in May.

In contrast, renewables demonstrated growth, with solar power generation increasing by 13% (+13TWh) compared to the same period in 2022, accompanied by robust installations.

Wind generation also climbed by 4.8% (+10TWh) over the first half of 2022.

Ember analyst Matt Ewen said: "Coal and gas are too expensive, too risky and the EU is cutting them out. But we need to see clean power replacing fossil fuels faster.

"A massive push, especially on solar and wind, is urgently needed to underpin a resilient economy across Europe."

Written by

Bruna Pinhoni

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