In the first three months of 2020, coal power dropped by 25.5 percent across the UK and EU, compared to the year prior. This information comes as a result of the response to the coronavirus and sets the pace for a major shift in our energy mix.
The impact is even starker between 10th March and 10th April, with coal generation collapsing by 29 percent compared to the same period in 2019. This makes up only 12 percent of total EU and UK generation. Comparatively, renewable energy generated 46 percent – an increase of 8 percent compared to the previous year.
The demand for electricity across the continent is down by a total of 10 percent due to measures taken to fight COVID-19. This is the largest drop in electricity demand since WWII.
This analysis comes from the Wärtsilä Energy Transition Lab, a new data platform developed by Wärtsilä to help us understand how the virus will impact European electricity markets and analyse what this means for the future design and operation of its energy systems.
According to the report, this is a “dramatic shift” in Europe’s energy mix, one that was not expected to occur until the end of the decade.
It reads: “The impact of the Covid-19 crisis has effectively accelerated the energy transition in the short-term, providing a unique opportunity to see how energy systems function with far higher levels of renewables.”
Björn Ullbro, Vice President for Europe & Africa at Wärtsilä Energy Business, said: “The impact of the Covid-19 crisis on European energy systems is extraordinary. We are seeing levels of renewable electricity that some people believed would cause systems to collapse, yet they haven’t – in fact, they are coping well. The question is, what does this mean for the future?”
“What we can see today is how our energy systems cope with much more renewable power-knowledge that will be invaluable to accelerate the energy transition. We are making this new platform freely available to support the energy industry to adapt and use the momentum this tragic crisis has created to deliver a better, cleaner energy system, faster.”