Skip to main content
Canada’s most-awarded newsroom for a reason
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
Canada’s most-awarded newsroom for a reason
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

Electricity demand in the European Union has returned to pre-pandemic levels without a corresponding rise in emissions, according to a report published Wednesday by the energy think tank Ember.

An analysis of data from grid operators showed that electricity demand in the EU during the first half of 2021 almost matched the demand in the same six-month period two years earlier, the report said.

However, renewable sources accounted for significantly more electricity generated in the first six months of this year compared with the first half of 2019, while power from fossil fuels declined since before the pandemic, the think tank found.

Story continues below advertisement

This resulted in the EU power sector producing 12 per cent fewer greenhouse gas emissions over the two-year period, Ember said.

The relative decline in fossil fuel use partly resulted from rising costs, particularly for gas, during the first half of 2021, and higher carbon prices. The day price per ton of CO2 has increased from about 33 euros ($39) to more than 50 euros ($59) on the EU Emissions Trading System in the past six months.

The cost of renewable energy, meanwhile, has remained stable since 2019, Ember said.

The researchers said their analysis showed that in Spain, Italy, Germany and France, generating electricity from existing fossil gas and hard coal plants is now about twice as expensive as generating electricity from new wind and solar power sites.

Alexander Dusolt, a senior associate at energy consultancy Agora Energiewende, said the analysis conducted by Ember was “completely realistic.” But he noted that some countries, such as Spain, have seen a sharp increase in renewable energy generation lately while in others, like Germany, it was less pronounced.

The 27-nation EU aims to cut its emissions of planet-warming greenhouse gases 55 per cent from 1990 levels by 2030, a target experts say will require a further sharp decrease in fossil fuel use. Electricity from coal, gas and oil currently accounts for about 45 per cent of the EU’s supply.

Be smart with your money. Get the latest investing insights delivered right to your inbox three times a week, with the Globe Investor newsletter. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies