A newly published overview of the European electricity sector suggests that renewables development remains stalled on the continent. Despite some regional differences, EU policy generally favors gas over renewable resources to replace coal. And recent comments by Kadri Simson, the newly sworn-in EU energy commissioner, offer little hope for change.
The EU power market has made a significant shift away from coal generation, but mainly to the benefit of gas, according to EnAppSys’ new third-quarter summary of the European electricity market summary.
The research firm said that coal and lignite power plants produced 95.8 TWh in the three months to the end of September. By contrast, gas-fired power stations contributed 134.6 TWh to the European power supply over the same time period, or about 41% more than coal. This marks quite a significant shift in the market, as coal produced 31% more than gas in the third quarter of 2018 and 37% more throughout the same period in 2017.
The shift is largely due to new market dynamics in Spain and Germany, EnAppSys said. It noted that coal has been almost completely pushed out of the Spanish market by gas, while Germany – traditionally a large coal and lignite consumer – has incrementally turned its back on the fuel type.