(20 December 2021) Europe, which aims to be the first climate-neutral continent by moving to a clean, circular economy, has increased its use of coal — the most carbon-intensive fossil fuel — to meet the growing demand for electricity.

  • According to Eurostat monthly energy statistics, for January through September 2021 electricity generation by coal power plants saw a greater increase compared to the same period last year than electricity generation from other types of fuel. For the same period, wind and natural gas electricity generation declined because of unfavorable weather conditions, natural gas shortages, and record high natural gas prices.
  • For Germany, Poland and the Netherlands, which account for 85% of the total year-over-year increase, burning more coal was the only option to increase electricity generation as much as was required for post-COVID economic recovery.
  • Though coal power generation accounts only for 13.5% of total electricity generation in the EU-27, for Poland and Germany coal is a vitally important fossil fuel, as coal power accounts for 28% and 72% of these nations’ total electricity generation, respectively.

The visualizations below display power generation data for the E.U. by default. Choose a country from the drop-down menu to view country-specific data.

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