Research by Wärtsilä Energy, the global technology company, has found that the pace of Europe’s transition away from coal has recently been accelerated by more than five years due to Covid-19’s impact.

The data, provided by the Wärtsilä Energy Transition Lab, suggests that inflexible baseload coal will become a thing of the past faster than previously thought.

Coal generation in Europe was down by 30% in the first half of 2020, eliminating more than 55 million tonnes of carbon emissions, which equals the suspension of all transport, including aviation, across the continent for six months.

Energy demand in Europe dropped by 6.5% year on year as a result of Covid-19’s impact and the national lockdowns imposed as a result.

Wärtsilä Energy director of growth and development Ville Rimali said: “Coal has been on the decline for many years and Covid-19 has been the final nail in the coffin. We know that coal generation is not compatible with the low carbon, flexible energy system of the future, so we must pivot away from dirty generation and focus on renewables, storage, and flexibility to accelerate the transition to a 100% renewable future.”

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