EU’s first: more electricity from ‘green’ sources than fossil
During the first six months of the year, Europe for the first time produced more green electricity than electricity from fossil sources. The corona crisis created exceptional circumstances that paved the way for greener solutions.
The trend break was mentioned in the report of the British NGO Ember (former Sandbag). In the first six months, 40% of the electricity produced in the 27 EU member states came from wind farms, solar panels, hydro-electric power stations, and bio-energy.
Electricity from fossil sources like gas and coal got stuck at 34%. The remaining part of the electricity was produced by nuclear power.
So, for the first time in history, more sustainable electricity was produced than fossil electric current. Due to the corona pandemic, the electricity demand decreased by 7%, a direct consequence of the economic activities that came to a standstill.
The production of electricity based on coal was 32% lower than one year before. Germany saw a strong relapse, and in Spain, Austria, Ireland, and Greece, the production of electricity coming from coal halved. In Portugal, it even decreased by 95%. The latter country is planning to close down its coal plants next year.
The fossil production of electricity (coal and gas) decreased by 18%, and the linked CO2 emissions by 23%. Nuclear production dropped by 11%. At the same time, the six first months of the year were particularly favorable for wind and sun. Furthermore, in some regions, it rained a lot, so hydro-electric power plants could operate optimally.
Thanks to corona
The fact that renewable electricity has overtaken fossil electricity is the result of a trend we’ve already seen for several years. In 2011, almost half of all electricity was produced by burning fossil materials. Today, it’s one-third, while the share of sustainable energy has almost doubled, from about 20% in 2011 to 40% now. The corona crisis only made the trend curve steeper.
Another remarkable phenomenon in the first half of the year is that German energy production based on coal was lower than in Poland. Electricity production based on coal in Poland alone represents the equivalent of the production in the remaining 25 member states.
Fortunately, also in Poland, the transition is getting off to a slow start. And the EU provides – via the Green Deal – the necessary tools to accelerate this transition.
When it comes to sustainable electricity production, Belgium sits in the middle of the European platoon, with a market share of sun and wind of slightly more than 20%. Last year, it still was 15%, but since the wind farm Norther was put into operation, an additional 370 Megawatt of sustainable production capacity was added.