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Decline in Electricity Consumption and Production in EU States

“This is primarily a consequence of lower economic activity and the stagnant performance of the economies of the EU states,” said managing consultant EGÚ Brno Matěj Hrubý.

“It is not related to the application of technical austerity measures. Electricity consumption is falling despite the expected electrification of heating, transport and industry. The lower consumption is then indirectly reflected in the decrease in the production of electricity from coal,” Hrubý added.

The largest share of electricity was produced from nuclear power and coal, together almost 80 percent (56 TWh). Despite the large share, however, electricity generation from coal decreased by 11 percent year-on-year last year and by 0.6 percent for nuclear, the company said.

The share of Russian gas in supplies to the Czech Republic this year was 3.8 percent so far

After a long time in the Czech Republic, according to the analysis, on the contrary, production from photovoltaics increased, specifically by 17 percent to 2.8 TWh.

Natural gas accounted for 3.3 TWh of electricity, as gas power plants only produced limited amounts due to lower electricity consumption and the high price of the commodity. Hydropower plants supplied 2.3 TWh of electricity.

Wind energy in the Czech Republic stagnated even in 2023, when its production reached 700 gigawatt hours (GWh).

Although production from renewable sources increased last year, according to EGÚ Brno, this is not enough to meet the goals by 2030.

“The updated Czech draft of the national plan in the field of energy and climate (NKEP) envisages the production of electricity in wind power plants in the amount of approximately three TWh in 2030,” said Hrubý.

“A significant impetus for further development should be the new legislation, which now supports the creation of community energy. Approximately seven percent of the territory of the Czech Republic has optimal potential for the installation of wind power plants and 99 municipalities are located there, which can provide up to 1.5 TWh of electricity from the wind,” he added.

Nuclear power plants produced the most

Last year, the most used source in the entire EU was nuclear, which produced 589 TWh of electricity. Wind power plants followed with 450 TWh, which is 13 percent more year-on-year. The share of wind in the total supply is now over 18 percent.

“Production was higher primarily as a result of better weather conditions, not as a result of growth in installed capacity, which has been stagnant recently,” said Hrubý.

The most electricity from wind was produced in Germany, more than 140 TWh. Other important producers are Spain, France or Sweden.

Furthermore, according to the analysis, photovoltaics recorded a year-on-year increase of 18 percent and reached an eight percent share of the total electricity production in the EU (196 TWh).

All renewable sources, including biomass and water, had a share of 45 percent of total production in the EU in 2023, when they supplied a total of 1,100 TWh of electricity. Since 2015, renewable sources have thus added approximately 250 TWh to electricity production.

The production of electricity from coal is decreasing throughout the Union. The most in Germany, where coal production decreased year-on-year by 22 percent, followed by Poland by 18 percent. A significant reduction in production from coal is also visible in the Czech Republic, Italy, Belgium and Romania.

“If we are serious about replacing coal resources, developing only photovoltaics and wind is not enough. It will be crucial how many new gas power plants can be built, because in the current situation, Germany, the Czech Republic, and Poland cannot afford to close coal-fired power plants,” added Hrubý.

Electricity production was already falling in the EU in 2022, when it decreased by almost 100 TWh year-on-year.

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2024-01-04 09:07:43
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