June 16, 2020 Read More →

IEA: Renewable energy generation rose during pandemic’s onset, while coal cratered

Renew Economy:

New statistics published by the International Energy Agency outline how coal-fired generation is bearing the brunt of Covid-19 triggered cuts to energy use, while renewable energy supplies continue to flourish.

The latest monthly statistics published by the IEA found that in OECD countries, which include Australia, electricity generation from coal fell a massive 21.6 per cent in March, compared to the same period 12-months prior.

Meanwhile, the share of electricity generated from solar generation grew an impressive 15.6 per cent, with wind adding an additional 4 per cent in March. Gas generation was comparatively stable, increasing 2.7 per cent in March, driven by increased demand from Northern American members of the OECD.

The drop in coal production significantly outpaces the overall fall in total electricity consumption, which fell 3.6 per cent in March across all OECD countries, as the economic impacts of Covid-19 shutdowns started to have an impact on economic activity.

However, renewable electricity generation bucked this trend, growing 7.1 per cent in March, driven by substantial growth in solar capacity across the OECD, along with a boost to hydroelectricity generation helped by strong rains in Europe. With renewables continuing to be dispatched due to lower marginal costs, it has been the more costly coal generators have been pushed out of the market first, in response to falling electricity demand.

“Across all major regions, the power mix has shifted towards renewables following lockdown measures due to depressed electricity demand, low operating costs and priority access to the grid through regulations,” the IEA said.

[Michael Mazengarb]

More: Covid-19 makes massive dent in global coal generation, as wind and solar thrive

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