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EU Power Plant Emissions in 2019 See Record Decline

Greenhouse gas emissions from EU power plants declined more sharply in 2019 than in any year since at least 1990

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The European Union (EU) electricity sector emitted 12 per cent less CO2 in 2019 than the previous year.

That’s according to a study of current electricity data carried out by research body Agora Energiewende and climate think-tank Sandbag.

For the same period, the share of renewables in electricity production rose EU-wide to 35 per cent, said the ‘The European Power Sector in 2019” report.

Greenhouse gas emissions from EU power plants declined more sharply in 2019 than in any year since at least 1990. Overall, emissions fell by 120 million tonnes, a decrease of 12 per cent relative to the previous year’s level.

Overall emissions dropped because of a collapse in generation from hard coal- and lignite-fired power plants, which decreased 24 per cent across the EU, found the study.

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, it said.

Half of the electricity that would have otherwise been produced from coal came from gas-fired power plants and renewables instead.

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 delivered more electricity in the EU than coal-fired power plants. 

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