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European Union Power Emissions Fell By Over 8%

European power sector emissions fell by 8% in 2014, and electricity consumption fell by 2.7%, fantastic numbers across the 28 member states of one of the most influential power-blocs in the world.

These latest figures come courtesy of Sandbag, a group dedicated to shining “a light on what is really going on in emissions trading” in the EU. The group predicted in October of 2014 (PDF) that by 2020, the EU would reach a 4.5 billion tonne surplus in its Emissions Trading Scheme.

Sandbag’s predictions differ from those of other groups by modifying the demand for energy, as shown below:


Sandbag believes that EU electricity consumption will fall by 10% this decade, due to a combination of “super-efficient” electrical products and their uptake, a switch to more efficient products, and a somewhat naive assumption that the “need” for new electrical products will plateau.

Regardless of Sandbag’s past predictions, however, the reality here and now is that the European Union power sector emissions did fall by 8% in 2014, despite real GDP growth across the EU of 1.3%.


In fact, according to Sandbag, energy consumption has already fallen by 5% since 2010, with some countries decreasing their own consumption levels by much more.


The reduction in power emissions came by a 36% decrease in gas generation and a 64% decrease in coal/lignite/oil generation — good news after coal had actually increased slightly in 2013.


Sandbag also highlighted several other observations from its analysis:

  • Renewables generation growth slowed in 2014; it has averaged 53TWh over the previous 3 years.
  • Although electricity consumption fell overall by 2.7%, Austria and the Netherlands bucked the trend with rising consumption.
  • French power emissions have halved in one year, and had virtually no coal generation (although France started from a low base)
  • Spanish emissions rose as CHP subsidies were phased out, leading to an increase in coal generation.
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