Sandbag, the non-profit climate change think-tank based in Brussels and London has reported that coal generation in the EU collapsed by 19% in the first half of 2019, with falls in almost every coal-burning country.
According to Sandbag, half of the fall in coal use was accounted for by wind and solar, and half was replaced by switching to fossil gas. However, this analysis omits the inroads being made into coal consumption by biomass conversion projects. AcuComm has seven European coal-to-biomass power plant conversion projects listed in its WasteView Projects database, covering Selby and Ashington in the UK, Kalundborg in Denmark, Eemshaven in the Netherlands, Cordemais and Le Havre in France, and Konin in Poland. Earlier this month, Zespół Elektrowni Pątnów-Adamów-Konin SA (ZE PAK) announced that its supervisory board has accepted a detailed concept for the modernisation of the existing K7 coal boiler and turbogenerators at the Konin Power Plant with the creation of a second biomass-fired generating unit.
Sandbag notes that if this reduction in the use of coal continues for the rest of the year it will offset CO2 emissions by 65 million tonnes compared to last year, and reduce the EU’s overall greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 1.5%. Coal generation already had fallen 30% from 2012 to 2018. Nevertheless, even if these falls continue throughout 2019, coal generation is still likely to account for 12% of the EU’s 2019 GHG.