Renewables Generated More Electricity In Europe Than Coal in 2017
In 2017 Europe, renewables have generated more electricity than coal. These numbers come from a new analysis conducted on official figures by the climate policy campaign group Sandbag. In total, wind, solar and biomass power generation have produced 679 terawatt hours of electricity. Coal, on the other hand, was responsible for 669 terawatt hours.
This comes at a time when only five years ago, coal was generating twice as much as renewables were. One interesting thing here is that the UK’s electricity use has dropped by two percent between 2016 and 2017. This happened at a time when the EU’s own consumption rose by 0.7 percent.
Why the UK’s consumption fell by this much is a mystery. “There’s plenty of speculation but obvious things we’ve ruled out – industrial production is still going up,” said Phil MacDonald at Sandbag.
Nevertheless, this big of a change in this short amount of time puts a lot of pressure on the UK’s energy network. This sudden change makes it difficult to know which power plants need to be turned off and which don’t.
Regardless of this fact and given its climate-friendly energy programs, the UK has dropped its coal-generated power by 22 percent, while at the same time, raising its windfarm output by 45 percent between 2016 and 2017.
But even with these hopeful predictions regarding Europe, the distribution of renewables is not even. The UK and Germany alone account for 56 percent of all the renewables found on the continent. CO2 emissions in the EU have even risen slightly over the past year.
And even though some countries such as the Netherlands, Italy, and Portugal have all pledged to phase out coal completely, some countries such as the Czech Republic or Poland have no plans to do so. Other countries, predominantly in Eastern and Central Europe are in the same situation.