The share of coal in global power generation dropped to 33% in the first half of 2020 from 37.9% in 2015, while the combined share of wind and solar grew to 9.8% from 4.6% in the same period.

This is according to a report by independent climate think-tank Ember, for which it analysed data from 48 countries. It shows that first-half coal power generation contracted by 8.3% year-on-year in 2020, or by 346 TWh. About 70% of this decrease can be attributed to the drop in electricity demand due to measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus, and 30% can be attributed to the rise in wind and solar power generation.

In the US and the EU, coal power plunged by 31% and 32%, respectively.

Ember points out that under the IPCC’s 1.5 degree scenarios coal’s share in power needs to be reduced to just 6% by 2030. “Coal needs to fall by 13% every year this decade, and even in the face of a global pandemic coal generation has only reduced 8% in the first half of 2020.”

The think-tank also observed a slight decrease in gas power generation in the first half, by 1.6%, but said that without clear data from markets like Iran, Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Egypt its global gas generation estimate has a higher error margin. Still, it can confirm that in European countries where coal is already near zero, such as the UK, Spain and Italy, gas was the fuel the hardest hit by the fall in demand.


Global wind and solar power generation in January-June 2020 reached 1,129 TWh, up from 992 TWh a year earlier, and a share of almost 10% in total power. In the same period of 2019, the combined share of these two renewable energy sources was 8.1%. Soon, they may beat nuclear energy, whcih accounted for 10.5% of global electricity in the first half of 2020.

A 10% solar and wind power share was reached in countries like China, India, Japan and Brazil, while in the US and Turkey it was even higher — at 12% and 13%, respectively. Germany, the UK and the EU as a whole have reached wind-plus-solar shares of 42%, 33% and 21%, respectively.

Ember said Russia is the largest country to have so far neglected these two sources. It got just 0.2% of its power from wind and solar, according to the report which available here


Source: Renewables Now