Today, we launch our sixth annual report, “The European Power Sector in 2019”, in partnership with the German think-tank, Agora Energiewende.
The report aggregates data from every EU country, to present the latest insights on Europe’s electricity transition. The data is provided open source and free to download for you to make your own analysis.
Scroll down to read the year’s highlights.
Europe has become a test-bed for replacing coal with wind & solar power, and the fast results should give reassurance to other countries that they can rapidly phase out coal too.”
1) For the first time, wind and solar provided more electricity than coal
In 2019, wind and solar provided 18% (569TWh) of EU electricity, whilst coal fell to just 15% (469TWh). Only five years ago, the EU generated twice as much from coal as it did from wind and solar.
2) Electricity generation from coal collapsed
Many countries in western Europe saw significantly larger year-on-year falls while eastern Europe lagged behind. Half of the coal was replaced by wind & solar, and half was replaced with gas. Wind and solar generation rose because of new capacity installations, and gas generation rose as higher CO2 prices and low gas prices boosted the competitiveness of gas power plants in relation to coal generation.
3) The countries with the biggest increase in wind & solar, saw the biggest falls in coal
Europe’s transition avoided a bridge into gas: despite the uptick in gas generation in 2019, gas’s share is still 1 percentage point lower in 2019 than in 2010, and only 7GW of new gas plants have come online in Europe since 2014.
4) Europe’s coal to clean transition looks set to accelerate
Meanwhile, the economics continued to shift in favour of renewables over fossil: 2019 saw record-low auction prices for offshore wind (UK) and solar (Portugal) – both below wholesale prices. Looking ahead, the wind and solar trade associations in Europe predict that the rate of new installations will accelerate.
5) In 2019, two more European countries committed to phase-out coal
Coal phase-out dates and remaining coal capacities