Europe generates more from renewables than fossil fuels in 2019

Europe produced more power through renewables than fossil fuels in the first and second quarters of 2019 for the second consecutive year, according to a new report from energy data analyst EnAppSys.

The research, which focused on the European power market, showed that renewable projects generated 245.8TWh of electricity in the three months to June 30, which is 21.3 per cent more than the combined 202.7TWh produced from gas, coal lignite, oil and peat during the same period.

This repeats the pattern seen in 2018, which saw renewables produce 288.4TWh and 252.8TWh in Q1 and Q2 respectively, whilst fossil fuels generated 258.9TWh and 224.8TWh.

EnAppSys said this was part of a trend which has brought increased levels of stability to the European power market.

Britian’s power mix saw renewables almost double the output of nuclear, while coal produced the least.

Gas-fired plants took up a 40.6% share of the UK’s power mix over the quarter, followed by 33.1% from renewables, 17.6% from nuclear, 8.1% from imports and 0.5% from coal.

Wind was the biggest contributor of renewable generation, at 49.1% of the total renewable generation, followed by biomass (27.7%), solar (19.1%) and hydro (4.1%). Solar saw an increase of 18% in comparison to Q2 2018.

Jean-Paul Harreman, director of EnAppSys BV, believes that the state of the power fuel mix across Europe has largely stabilised, with levels of renewables no longer seeing large increases and the balance between coal and gas largely staying static.

“This means that the share of generation from fossil fuels, renewables and nuclear have largely remained static since 2017, with renewables providing more than fossil fuels in the first half of the year and this trend reversing in the second half of the year,” he said.

Nuclear plants were the dominant player in Europe’s power mix during Q2 2019, generating 28.2% of total electricity. Hydro produced 17.5%, gas 17.0%, coal/ lignite plants 14.7%, wind 11.5%, solar 6.5% and biomass projects 3.4%. The remainder was made up of oil 0.6%, waste 0.5% and peat 0.1%.

Harreman added: “Although many countries are claiming they are moving towards a renewable future, a large share of European electricity continues to be generated from dirty fuel sources. Coal and lignite plants continued to produce a high share of total generation in the second quarter (92.1TWh), which is only 22% down on Q2 2016 levels.

“In the short term, this trend could continue as many operators are finding it difficult to secure finance and subsidy support for renewable projects. There is also the challenge of switching from coal to gas in regions in which domestic gas supplies and gas infrastructure is low.”

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