These EU countries will have dirtiest power systems in 2030

EU countries dirtiest power systems 2030

Photo: Roya ann miller on Unsplash


November 11, 2020






November 11, 2020





The European Union is not on track to deliver the European Commission’s recommended 55% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, Ember warned and pointed to lags in several member states including Bulgaria and Romania. The group of countries projected to have the dirtiest power systems in 2030 must make the most progress for the target.

Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic are seen with a share of 90% of the remaining electricity generation from coal ten years from now among the 27 current member states of the European Union. In an analysis of National Energy and Climate Plans, Ember highlighted the group of countries that are on pace to have the dirtiest systems in the sector in 2030.

Germany and Italy are in the group of EU members expected to have the dirtiest electricity generation systems at the end of the next decade

Furthermore, Germany and Poland will account for over half of the overall greenhouse emissions in electricity production, according to the climate think tank.  All in all, the highest emissions are expected in Poland, 566 grams of carbon dioxide per kilowatt-hour. Czechia, Bulgaria, Germany, Belgium and Romania are also notably above the projected EU average, while Italy is only slightly above the level.

EU countries dirtiest power systems in 2030
Photo: Ember

Planned wind, solar power investments must triple

Given the current plans, the European Commission’s proposal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030 can’t be implemented, the document reads and adds the seven countries would have to make the biggest efforts.

Overall wind and solar deployment plans will need to triple to hit the target. Total renewable electricity output is already set to grow 93% from 2018 to 2030.

Poland, Czechia, Bulgaria, Romania and Belgium committed to limited or no progress in their NECPs

Very limited reductions in coal generation are planned in Poland, Czechia, Bulgaria and Romania. Belgium joins them in the group expected to make limited or no progress regarding the necessary cut in emissions, and improvements in Germany and Italy are seen as slow, NECPs show.

The seven countries with the dirtiest systems will be responsible for 80% of the EU’s power sector emissions by 2030, Ember underscored.

Fossil fuels are still expected to generate 25% of electricity by 2030 and coal generation is projected to fall 53% in the twelve-year period, which means Europe would fail to phase out coal.

Two Balkan states rely too much on coal, nuclear energy

Turning to Bulgaria and Romania, two of the countries predicted to have the dirtiest power systems, the analysts stressed they still have no coal exit strategy.

In 2030, Bulgaria will be one of only three countries with shares of coal above a third of the electricity mix and its reliance on fossil fuels for electricity barely changes from 2018, the data showed. The two states are expected to record some of the lowest deployment rates of renewable electricity and they are among the group of just four EU countries where growth actually decreases in the coming decade.

Despite Prime Minister Boyko Borissov’s pleas for help from the European Commission to phase out coal, he has failed to create a supportive market for renewables and even to set a coal phase-out date for Bulgaria, said Ember’s European Programme Lead Charles Moore. He noted both countries have long-term bets on nuclear energy and claimed they are “risky” and won’t reduce emissions sufficiently by end-decade.

Comments (1)
Florin / November 13, 2020

This article lacks some logic.
For example, specifically mentions Romania as one of the countries with the “dirtiest” energy systems. For that matter, Romania will be slightly under Germany in emissions as forecast for 2030.
Secondly, Romania has a rather big park for wind mills.
Third, the nuclear energy is considered “risky”. OK, how about one of the “cleanest” systems in Europe by 2030, France?
They are producing their electricity by a largely dominant use of nuclear power.
Anyways, I found about this article from a Romanian newspaper.

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