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May 6, 2020

Rate of carbon emission falls across Europe amid Covid-19

Research from Cornwall Insight, a market research company, looking into electricity demand and carbon emissions across five European countries, during the four weeks from 23 March, has found that both demands for power and carbon emissions have fallen in comparison to 2019.

By Yoana Cholteeva

Research from Cornwall Insight, a market research company, looking into electricity demand and carbon emissions across five European countries, during the four weeks from 23 March, has found that both demands for power and carbon emissions have fallen in comparison to 2019.

Cornwall Insight senior analyst Tom Andrews said: “Arguably, renewables have stepped into the baseload role, with gas and limited amounts of coal fulfilling a peaking role both when demand goes pick up, and when renewables output dips.

“Many system operators are now proving able to manage grids at 70% or more renewable energy and with a much lower level of demand than would – even a few months ago – have been expected,” he added.

Great Britain has experienced an average reduction in demand of 17.2% and 17.5% in carbon intensity during the assessed period for 2020, compared to the same period last year.

Demand in France fell by an average of 16.3% over the period, while emissions have fallen by 24.9% per kWh of electricity produced.

Germany’s demand has reduced 11.5% on average, but a much larger reduction in carbon intensity of electricity production, at 35.9%, has been experienced.

Italy has sustained a 14.9% decrease in electricity demand over the period. More recently, demand has fallen by up to 25% below seasonal averages, while emissions per unit of electricity have fallen by 15.9%.

Power demand in Spain has fallen by 16.7% over the assessed period, but with carbon emissions down much further, at 27.4% per kWh.

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