The renewable takes the ascendancy. In a study published Wednesday by think tank Ember, renewable energy generated more electricity than fossil fuels during the first half of 2020 in Europe. A first. Thanks in particular to the booming solar-wind tandem. Despite everything, there are differences within the European Union itself. Some numbers.
Would the “green ceiling” shatter? For the first time in Europe, in the first half of 2020, renewable energy generated 40% electricity, about six points more than electricity produced by fossil fuels (34%). Thus, renewable energies saw their production grow by 11% compared to the first half of 2019. An increase explained in particular by the boom in wind and solar power. Together, they represent just over a fifth of the electricity produced in Europe. Up to 64% in Denmark.
Coal has lead in the wing
One of the main energies impacted by the breakthrough in renewable energies, coal. In any case, this is revealed by Ember, a specialist in energy transition, who underlines a sudden 32% drop in fossils in the EU. This is also explained by a lower demand for electricity due to the covid-19 pandemic. It is not Germany, committed to the eventual disappearance of its coal-fired power stations, which will say the opposite: – 32% use of coal in the first half of 2020. With the background, the feat of having been dethroned by Poland, the leading producer of sedimentary rock. A sad record for the Poles who now produce and consume as much coal as 25 EU countries combined.
Ditto for the Czech Republic, which has never really shown a strong desire to switch to a renewable mode of production. An observation that regrets Dave Jones, electricity analyst at Ember: “For countries like Poland and the Czech Republic, there is now a clear outcome, if they choose it. “.
On the right track… but still far from the objectives
While we must certainly be reassured by this historic first, there is still some way to go. Of course, we are moving towards electricity produced – and this increasingly -, via renewable energies. As evidenced by Austria, a country in which coal production has been halved (54%), due in particular to the closure of the last coal-fired power station in March, or Sweden, which has worked to the same scenario: condemn its ultimate coal-fired power station. “This has been rapid progress in just nine years, when fossil fuels generated twice as much as renewables,” Jones said.
However, difficult to rest in the shade of its laurels. Especially if we want to achieve the goal of reducing carbon emissions by 55% by 2030. To do this, wind and solar installations will have to double or even triple in the years to come, in comparison to the previous decade. Pales on the pylon! GW