Zero Carbon Electricity Soars in October

by | Nov 16, 2020

Strong performance in zero carbon electricity in Europe during October has forced down fossil fuel generation, which is welcome news after last month’s coal surge. With French nuclear output back to normal levels and a wet and windy month, we saw renewables once again overtake fossil fuels as the main power source for Europe.

In October electricity demand was back to business as usual as Europe caught its breath between lockdowns. However, thanks to wet and windy weather alongside the structural growth of renewables, fossil fuel generation was significantly lower than the same month last year. In particular strong wind replaced the use of fossil gas.

Although overall EU nuclear generation remained lower than last year due to outages in Germany, France’s nuclear output recovered to normal levels, helping to reduce the need for coal and fossil gas.

As a result renewable sources provided a larger share of EU electricity demand than fossil sources for the first time in three months.

Meanwhile Poland’s electricity prices remained the highest in Europe due to the over-reliance on expensive coal and the low share of renewables in the electricity mix. For more information, please refer to our recent post on this topic.

This month shows how strong performance in zero carbon sources such as wind, solar and nuclear are key to driving down fossil fuel generation. Investment in new clean power infrastructure is key to avoid the dependence of renewables on favourable weather, which results in fossil fuels being allowed to return. For Poland in particular, this investment could also help to drive down prices.

Every month Ember publishes an update on the European power sector, as well as an accompanying data release. We will be adding to this in future months – stay tuned for more updates! Data is obtained via Entso-E’s transparency platform and curated by Ember, supplementing with data from other national sources if necessary. Further information on sources and mapping can be found in the .xlsx file.

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