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20 Apr 2020, 13:39
Freja Eriksen

European power production may cause 20 pct fewer emissions due to coronavirus – analysis

Clean Energy Wire

European CO2 emissions from power production could fall by 15 to 20 percent as a result of lower demand on electricity due to the coronavirus, says an analysis by DNV GL, an independent energy certification and assessment company. The base-load power price in Germany, which the analysts used as a reference, is expected to lie 21 percent below pre-crisis forecasts in 2020 and 15 percent below in 2021, in a fast recovery scenario. In the case of a slower recovery, DNV GL even forecasts a drop of 30 percent compared to pre-crisis levels this year. 

Europe's power-related emissions could drop by more than 100 million tonnes due to the decrease in power demand. The fuel switch from coal to gas-fired power generation, which started before the crisis due to a high price on carbon and a drop in the price of natural gas, is also expected to continue, says the forecast. Earlier shutdowns of some hard-coal power plants "could come into consideration in the event of a slow recovery of the global economy", says the analysis, leading Germany to possibly import more electricity on a temporary basis.

As power demand has fallen in Germany due to the crisis, renewable electricity generation has repeatedly exceeded power demand, helping to bring down wholesale power prices. However, renewable power production in the country already reached a new record before the pandemic's effects fully set in. More than half of all electricity produced in Germany came from renewable power sources, for the first time over an entire quarter during the first three months of 2020.

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