In another sign that the world is rapidly moving away from coal, the European electricity sector just announced a commitment to not invest in new coal-fired power plants after 2020. Every European Union country signed onto the initiative except for Poland and Greece. The Union of the Electricity Industry, otherwise known as Eurelectric, which represents 3,500 utilities with a combined value of over €200 billion, reiterated its commitment to decarbonize the EU economy in line with targets set in the Paris climate agreement. Europe’s power sector is aiming to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.
“The power sector is determined to lead the energy transition and back our commitment to the low carbon economy with concrete action,” said Eurelectric President and CEO of the Portuguese energy group EDP, António Mexia. “With power supply becoming increasingly clean, electric technologies are an obvious choice for replacing fossil fuel based systems for instance in the transport sector to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
Coal is already in decline as Europe continues making massive investments in renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Last year, European coal emissions fell by an impressive 11 percent, according to an analysis published by the European Commission. The decrease of coal emissions is part of a long-term trend — since 2010, European coal’s generation emissions fell by 16 percent and overall power sector emissions fell by 19 percent.
Across the Atlantic, US President Donald Trump has pledged to revive coal. However, US utilities, similar to their European counterparts, are moving away from coal in favor of natural gas and renewables. News agency Reuters contacted 32 utilities and the vast majority said that Trump’s actions would not impact their investments away from coal.
“I’m not going to build new coal plants in today’s environment,” Ben Fowke, CEO of Xcel Energy, told Reuters. “And if I’m not going to build new ones, eventually there won’t be any.”
Via The Guardian