By Forrest Crellin
PARIS, July 28 (Reuters) - Carbon emissions from power generation in the European Union dropped in the first half of 2021 despite electricity demand returning to levels seen before the pandemic, a report by independent climate think tank Ember said on Wednesday.
The EU is on course for the largest annual increase in electricity demand since the aftermath of the financial crisis in 2010, while two-thirds of electricity production in the first half of 2021 came from clean energy sources, the report said.
Clean energy sources includes all power generation with zero or near zero carbon emissions, such as renewables and nuclear.
That is up 3% or 24 terawatt hours (TWh) from the first half of 2019, and indicates about a 1% increase year-on-year, the report said.
"Clean energy growth will need to double each year to reach the 2030 EU climate targets, and if you were to start right now it would need to almost triple to get to 100% clean power by 2035," Ember analyst Charles Moore said.
As power generation switched, power sector emissions fell 12% compared to the same period before the pandemic, the group said, as consistent growth in the renewables sector tempered a rebound in fossil fuel-fired generation.
Coal-fired generation fell 16% or 36 TWh in the first half of 2021 compared to the same period in 2019, and accounted for 2% less of total power generation over the same period.
"The EU is making good progress in decarbonizing its power sector and that is a great sign in the run up to an important COP in Glasgow this year," Moore said.
"It's not fast enough yet," he added, "and all of the governments will now need to reflect on the new EU climate law and come back with enhanced plans to meet their climate targets."
The 26th United Nations Climate Change conference, or COP26, is scheduled to take place in Glasgow between Oct. 31 and Nov. 12 this year.
(Reporting by Forrest Crellin; editing by David Evans)
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