The European Commission’s latest reports on gas and electricity markets, which cover the fourth quarter of 2019, have just been published, containing a wide range of data about supply and usage of electricity and gas in the EU.
The electricity market report shows how electricity generation from solid fuels (coal plus lignite) in the EU fell by 26% year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2019 (or 39 TWh in absolute terms), with a marked shift to renewables (+29 TWh) and a modest increase for gas (+9 TWh). This changes means the share of renewable energy in the EU power mix reached 35%, the highest ever for a fourth quarter yet. Warm weather and slowing economic activity contributed to a measurable decrease in demand (-7 TWh). The pan-EU average wholesale price declined to 43.9 €/MWh, down 7% compared to the previous quarter. Looking at the whole of 2019, the EU electricity sector decreased its greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 12% thanks to higher renewables generation and coal-to-gas switching, bringing about a substantial contribution to Europe’s decarbonisation efforts.
The gas market report highlights how net gas imports increased by 8% year-on-year (8.1 bcm) in the fourth quarter, but the overall gas import bill fell significantly (29%) because prices were down by 36%. Russian pipeline supplies covered 39% of extra-EU net gas imports. For the first time, in Q4 2019 LNG became the second source of gas to the EU, covering 28% of the total imports and surpassing the share of Norway. After the withdrawal of the UK from the EU, gas import dependency is expected to increase further, as domestic production has been decreasing over the last few years. LNG imports in Q4 2019 increased by 42% year-on-year, and the US become the biggest LNG import source in this quarter. In December 2019, after several rounds of negotiations, the EU, Ukraine and Russia managed to reach an agreement on the future of gas imports of Russian origin through Ukraine, and later in that month Ukraine and Russia concluded a package of agreements, amongst others on transit volumes thorough Ukraine for 2020-2024.
7 April 2020