Reaching its lowest in several decades, coal-fired generation in Europe has significantly decreased by 31pc, thanks to agreeable coal-to-gas switching, improved French nuclear performance, and the phasing out of coal plants. . This decline to 16.5GW in 2023 is below the recorded level during Covid. Eurostat data shows that EU coal consumption has continuously dropped from 390mn t in 1990 to 160mn t in 2022.
The improved French nuclear performance played a major role in reducing coal demand in the region. French operator EdF generated more electricity in December 2023, which, in turn, helped reduce the demand for coal in the region compared to the same period in the previous year.
Offering reasonable prices for coal-to-gas switching helped in lower generation in Europe. Previously, there was a divergence in the prices of gas and coal in 2022; as a result, using coal generation became economically advantageous.