EU Fight Against Emissions Goes On
EU wind and solar push not enough to limit global warming as coal use remains stubborn; Fossil fuels still accounted for 37% of the bloc’s electricity production in 2021
Camilla Hodgson and Steven Bernard, January 31, 2022 (Financial Times)
“Newly-installed renewable power in the EU mainly replaced expensive gas power rather than more polluting coal last year…Coal power in Europe was down just 3 per cent in 2021 compared with 2019 pre-pandemic levels, far less than the 29 per cent fall recorded in 2019 when compared with 2017 levels…The polluting fuel accounted for 15 per cent of EU electricity generation last year, compared with 22 per cent in 2017. In the first half of 2021 — before the supply crunch pushed up the price of gas — newly-installed renewables predominantly replaced coal and nuclear power. But from July, the new clean power almost exclusively replaced gas…
…EU power sector emissions that cause climate change would need to fall 6 per cent per year to reach the net zero level needed by 2035 but were reducing at about half that rate…Fossil fuels accounted for 37 per cent of the EU’s electricity production in 2021, compared with 39 per cent in 2019. Renewables generated another 37 per cent, and nuclear made up the remainder. As gas prices climbed, power generators sought to replace the fossil fuel with renewables as well as with coal.
Prices rose so high that it was more profitable for power generators to switch to coal even though that meant they had to buy more allowances at higher prices under the EU’s emissions trading scheme. The price of credits traded under the scheme, which allows the holder to emit a tonne of carbon for each credit, has almost tripled over the past year to around €90 per tonne of carbon…However, the bloc’s wind and solar power generated more electricity in 2021 than gas for the first time ever…” click here for more