Sometimes when you fall, you fall really hard. That’s how it’s going for coal at the moment, the former king when it came to energy production.
According to a new report from climate think-tank Sandbag, coal generation in the European Union collapsed by 19 percent in the first half of 2019, with reported declines in almost every coal-burning country. Dave Jones, an electricity analyst at Sandbag, credits the decline of coal to carbon pricing, which is approaching €30 per tonne. This has shifted the economics not only “from coal to gas generation, but also from coal to clean generation.” And with the economics becoming less and less favorable for coal power, policymakers are finding it much easier to support wind and solar.
Of all the European countries that saw significant declines in coal generation, Germany saw the biggest drop at 22 percent. With that said, Germany was still responsible for 35 percent of the European Union’s coal generation over the first half of 2019, meaning the country still has a lot to do if it wants to phase out coal.