EU power plant emissions in 2019 see record decline

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In 2019, the EU electricity sector emitted 12 per cent less CO2 than in the previous year. At the same time, the share of renewables in electricity production rose EU-wide to 35 per cent, a new record. These are the main findings in a study of current electricity data carried out by Agora Energiewende and climate think-tank Sandbag.

Greenhouse gas emissions from EU power plants declined more sharply in 2019 than in any year since at least 1990. All in all, emissions fell by 120 million tonnes, a decrease of 12 per cent relative to the previous year’s level. The cause for the decline was a collapse in generation from hard coal- and lignite-fired power plants which decreased 24 per cent across the EU. To large extent, this collapse was triggered by an increase in the price of CO2 emissions to around 25 euros per tonne, making carbon-intensive coal electricity more expensive than electricity from natural gas, nuclear power and renewable energy. The share of green energy in electricity generation grew across the EU to 34.6 per cent, 1.8 percentage points higher than in 2018. For the first time, wind and solar power plants thus delivered more electricity than coal-fired power plants.

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