European Energy Sector Pollution Falls With The Collapse of Coal Energy Usage.

Mark Wood

In 2019, the European power industry released 12% less carbon dioxide than the previous year, indicating that the region has intensified the move away from fossil fuels. According to a recent report by two European weather think tanks, the proportion of renewable energy rose by nearly 35 per cent in the same period.

The results show that the pollution declined by 120 million tons lately last year in a joint report by Agora Energiewende, Germany and Sandbag, UK. In all countries of the European Union, hard coal generation declined and dropped by 24% total.

A nearly equivalent substitution emerged of natural gas and renewable energy to the coal energy that left this sector.

For the very first time, more electricity was generated in Europe than coal firms,  from renewables like wind and solar energy. The study also reported that the most prosperous countries in the world of renewables had seen their electricity prices drop more dramatically. 

The spokesperson for Agora Energiewende, headquartered in Berlin, Christoph Podewils, said that the move was “caused by the European Emissions trading scheme [ETS] carbon pricing.”

ETS is the first and most reliable program in the world in combating climate change. Under the pollution limits of greenhouse gas, coal, industrial and intra-European aviation companies may buy and trade credits.

Podewils informed Al Jazeera, “coal energy is now more costly than[ electricity] from any other sources.” He said Eu carbon prices of about € 25/ tonne offered “a shield for all those stakeholders to attain renewable energy and efficiency objectives. “it is no longer competitive.”

The 80 per cent fall in hard coal energy comes from Germany, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands and the UK.

Nuclear-powered electricity slightly decreased, while natural gas production rose by 12% from last year.

Dave Jones, a Sandbag power analyst who characterized coal as “uneconomic” for the long term, said that “The least productive facilities in Europe are out in terms of prices.”

He notified Al-Jazeera that coal “was priced primarily out from the natural gas market.”

“Their total fixed costs are usually not covered by[ coal fired] plants,” he said, adding that coal’s inefficiency is likely to intensify plant closures.

Renewable power is designed on a much longer-term basis in Europe, with electricity usually distributed on day-to-day markets, Jones said. Solar and wind projects build via auction contracts of 15 to 20 years in which “prices have plummeted.”

Wind power rose 14% in 2019, partially because of better weather conditions. Solar panels energy rose 7%.

All EU countries except one saw an increase in their energy mix in the wind and solar sections.

Hydroelectricity has shrunk by 6% due to ongoing dry season, while nuclear power, dependent on water for cooling, was also hit by summer dryness.

EU targets suggest that a third of energy production will occur by 2030 from renewables. But for the next ten years, that will entail an annual increase of 97 terawatt-hours. This year, renewables amount to 64 terawatt-hours given the steady rise in usage.