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Power emissions in the EU fell by 4.5 pct in 2016: report

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Power emissions in the EU fell by 4.5 pct in 2016: report

Photo by Arnold Paul cropped by Gralo

(LONDON) - EU power emissions fell 4.5 per cent in 2016, according to a new report out on Wednesday, primarily as a result of a huge switch from coal generation to gas generation.

The report, by Sandbag, a not-for-profit think tank, 'The Energy Transition in the Power Sector in Europe', finds that year-on-year, coal generation across Europe fell by 12%, whilst gas increased by 20%.

The large switch from coal to gas is welcome news, said Dave Jones, analyst at Sandbag: "It helps the climate, and more importantly leads to cleaner air for Europe. Further switching away from coal is possible without building new gas pipelines and gas power plants. However, the ingredients to make this happen do not yet exist - few old coal plants have announced they are planning to close, and gas is still more expensive than coal because of a low carbon price."

Half of the switch happened in the United Kingdom, as many coal plants permanently closed and a higher carbon price took effect.

Switches from coal to gas also happened in Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Greece, in part from a temporary fall in gas price during 2016.

Renewables increased only slightly (from 29.2 % to 29.6 % of the electricity mix) due to poor conditions and slower solar and biomass growth. Massive price falls in offshore wind and solar give hope of robust future growth.

Electricity consumption is no longer structurally falling, suggesting energy efficiency measure need to be stepped up.

On the failing EU Emissions Trading System, structural oversupply has now passed the landmark of 3 billion tonnes of CO2.

The Energy Transition in the Power Sector in Europe: State of Affairs in 2016 : full report

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