Energy, Europe, Gas, News

Coal Decline Goes On: Europe’s Electricity Driven by Gas and Renewables

The amount of electricity produced from natural gas and the amount of electricity produced from coal in OECD countries have matched, the International Energy Agency (IEA) informed. The agency further added that electricity production in the OECD went up by 0.4% last year but Europe’s gas self-sufficiency dropped below 50% for the very first time. Moreover, electricity from fossil fuels fell for the fourth year in a row, with coal decreasing by 7.1% and oil by 7%. Electricity from natural gas grew by 5.8%, which means that gross production is not poised to overtake electricity generated from coal power.
According to Marco Alverà, president of the association group GasNaturally, the growing share of gas is “good news for the climate and for air quality as these are the most pressing issues these days”. He also added that advanced economies “have to lead the way and push forward with the shift from coal to gas. In the UK and US, this has proven to be the largest driver of carbon emissions reduction in power generation since 2016.”
Nuclear share of the energy mix has become stable over the last five years at approximately 18% but took a slight hit in 2016 due to a lag caused by maintenance programs at many facilities. Renewables grew as well – wind by 7.7% and solar by 19.2% in 2016 – meaning that the OECD’s total for green sources is now at 8.2%. Mr. Alverà also commented that “as the share of variable renewables increases in the future, cleaner, more energy efficient and flexible gas power plants will play an increasingly important role in balancing the power system to ensure a stable supply of affordable electricity”. In non-OECD countries, comprehensive data was only available for 2015 with coal being the dominant source for electricity production with a 47.1% share.

 

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