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Carbon emissions from the power sector have fallen 39 per cent

"Travis Gatehouse" (2020-05-30)

Carbon emissions from the power sector have fallen by nearly 40 per cent across Europe due to coronavirus lockdowns, analysis suggests.

Emissions of CO2 from power generation, including the harmful burning of coal, Admin Menu Editor Pro v2.6.6 have been 39 per cent lower in the past 30 days than the same period in 2019.

The analysis from climate think tank Ember and published on climate website Carbon Brief shows coal has taken the brunt of the fall in power demand.  

Power generation from both brown coal and hard coal are both down more than 40 per cent over the past month compared with last year, due to the costs involved. 

The UK, in particular, has gone a record-breaking period of 19 days without using coal-generated power - the longest stretch since the Industrial Revolution.  

Generation from lignite, or brown coal, and hard coal are both down more than 40% over the past month on what they were for the same period last year

In place of carbon-belching coal, Europe has seen a rise in more environmentally-friendly forms of power generation, including wind and solar. 

The lack of coal burning as a power source has been due to the costs associated with running coal plants in a financially unstable period, suggesting electricity systems can switch away from coal for good.

'The data from this unprecedented period of crisis shows that electricity systems can operate smoothly and reliably, even when variable renewables such as wind and solar meet higher shares of demand, which had not been expected until at least 2025,' said Dave Jones, electricity analyst leading Ember's phase-out of coal. 

The last month has also highlighted a lack of flexibility in the electricity market, with many power plants unable to switch off in response to low or even negative market prices. 





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'Electricity systems must become much more flexible to absorb higher levels of wind and solar in the future, including through responsive demand that can switch on when power is cheap,' he said.  

The figures from the Carbon Brief analysis, released on Wednesday, compare a period that began a month ago - when major European economies began locking down to curb the infection count - with the same period last year. 

Electricity demand as a whole is down 14 per cent across the 27 EU member states (EU27) and the UK over the past 30 days, compared to the same period in 2019, figures show.