EU gas emissions decrease after COVID increase due to cleaner supply and energy-saving research

The Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) said on Thursday that gas emissions from the energy sector of the European Union have stopped rising after more than a year of post-pandemic increases. This is due to cleaner power supply and efforts to save energy. According to a report published by an independent organization that conducts research on the patterns, causes, and health effects of air pollution, carbon-dioxide emissions have decreased by 5% over the past three months compared to the same time period last year, with an 8% decrease in October, after having steadily increased since March 2021.

According to CREA’s lead analyst Lauri Myllyvirta, “the post-COVID rebound in the EU’s fossil fuel use and emissions has come to an end in the past few months.” This is because of the growth in clean energy supply, led by solar power, and energy saving measures precipitated by the crunch in the supply of fossil fuels. Both of these factors contributed to the end of the rebound. According to Myllyvirta, increasing investments in renewable energy and expanding policies related to it could contribute to a sustained and rapid decline in emissions in the future years. According to the report, Europe’s emissions began to increase in March 2021 as economies began to recover from the pandemic. At the same time, an underperformance of nuclear and hydropower, combined with increased demand for electricity during heat waves in the summer, drove up demand for power generated by fossil fuels.

But the increase in power-sector emissions up to August cannot be linked to policies favoring coal because there was no shift from gas to coal in the fuel mix for thermal power generation in 2022, according to Myllyvirta. This information was provided by the International Energy Agency (IEA). According to the report, the output of hydropower is now closer to historical averages, and the underperformance of nuclear power should return, which will reduce Europe’s dependency on pollution. While the EDF of France anticipates that the majority of its nuclear fleet will be returning from maintenance in the early part of 2023, Germany has decided to prolong the operating period of its three remaining reactors until April 2023.

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Nevertheless, Myllyvirta stated in a live call that there will be few investments made in wind power generation in 2022 due to the limitations imposed by permits and other associated concerns. “That’s actually a technology that has a big further economic potential to aid, and all that needs to be done to unlock it is revising permitting,” the author writes, “both for wind turbines themselves and for transmission lines.” During the annual United Nations Climate Summit, which will begin on Sunday in Egypt, it is anticipated that world leaders will address expanding manufacturing facilities for sustainable energy in developing countries.