According to the think tank Ember, for the first time in the history of energy production in Europe, during the first half of the year, the production of renewable electricity (solar, wind, hydro, bioenergy) to be exceeded that from fossil fuels (coal, gas). Energy production represents 40% of the electricity of the 27 members of the European Union against 34% for fossils. While these results are encouraging for the green energy sector, they can be explained by several factors (3):

Initially, the installation of wind and solar farms has greatly increased in recent years in Europe; favor in mild, windy weather allowing full capacity use. The latter provided 21% of total electricity production in Europe and an even larger share in certain countries such as Denmark (64%), Ireland (49%) or even Germany (42%). For their part, hydroelectric and bioenergy production represented —respectively — 13% and 6%. At the same time, there was an 18% drop in fossil energy production due to the drop-in demand linked to the closure of businesses due to Covid-19.

Second, the elimination of coal is accelerating, according to Ember. Electricity production from this energy fell by 32% in the first half of the year and its market share has halved since 2016; and this, even if some countries are seeing their share increase in this field, such as the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Poland (although the latter has started its energy transition by progressing in solar and offshore wind).

Thirdly, gas production also fell by 6% with significant falls in Spain and Italy. So Ember sees the year 2019 as the year of peak gas production in the energy sector. And finally, France is "in its nuclear world", sums up Ember. Nuclear power production has fallen one and a half times more than the demand for electricity. However, this decline was offset by the increased production of wind and waterpower.

All this results in a drop in CO2 emissions from the energy sector by 23% across the 27 countries of the European Union. While these figures seem encouraging, covid-19 is likely to slow this market as well. The works of installing the parks (solar and wind) will be delayed. Forecasts are hardly better for future sites, there is talk of a 30% drop in the installation of future wind turbines. However, to meet the 55% emission reduction targets by 2030, solar and wind projects would have to be doubled or even tripled over the decade.

Thus, the think tank concludes that networks and suppliers “have shown their resilience. It is time for all countries to step up their efforts to cut emissions from the energy sector over the next decade and complete the transition to clean energy. "
(published on 08/24/2020, modified on 08/26/2020)