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ECOHZ: Record European demand for renewable energy in 2020

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Energy Global,

According to ECOHZ, demand for renewable energy in Europe this year is up by a brisk 15% compared to the same period in 2019. The demand for renewables documented with Guarantees of Origin has steadily increased every year, and the annual growth (CAGR) was a robust 16% during the period from 2012 – 2020. A continued growth of 15% in 2020 is especially impressive given the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The demand for renewable energy documented with Guarantees of Origin shows record growth during the first half of 2020, despite the negative effect COVID-19 is having on global and local economies. The fact that especially corporate demand for renewables seems unaffected is truly inspiring during these unusual and trying times,” said Tom Lindberg, Managing Director in ECOHZ, commenting on new statistics from the Association of Issuing Bodies (AIB). “The demand for renewables reached 530 TWh at the close of 2Q20. This is the highest figure recorded, even compared to previous full years, with the year 2019 being the only exception,” said Lindberg.

It is worth noting that the second half of the year traditionally shows significantly lower volumes. This means that annual figures for 2020 will not automatically be double those for the first half of the year. However, providing the market does not suddenly deflate, there will likely be a record figure for the full year.

The effect of numerous market and policy changes deployed over the last few years is evident. Among these is the EU’s new Renewable Directive, strengthening and clarifying the use of Guarantees of Origin. There has also been a stronger emphasis on reporting and documenting sustainability results at global and local levels. In Europe, countries are clearly implementing various forms of Full Disclosure (FD) policy, with the Netherlands deploying FD at the energy consumer level. This policy change creates increased transparency and will result in increased demand. New platforms for allowing access to renewables have also appeared in 2019 – 2020, including auction concepts in some countries. Lastly, a nascent development to purchase and report renewables on a monthly basis, and in some cases at daily or hourly intervals, also contributes to a more robust market.

“On a positive note is the inclusion of four new AIB countries in 2020: Serbia, Slovakia, Greece and Portugal. These countries have contributed little to the volume growth so far in 2020 but will likely have a positive effect moving forward,” said Lindberg.

The supply side also continues to grow during 2020 across most national markets and all renewable technologies. Wind and solar has doubled, and hydro has also grown. “Even with a strong growth in the supply, market demand easily outpaced supply in 2019. Demand volume was up by 18.5%, ending at 621 TWh and breaking the ‘600-barrier’ for the first time”, remarks Lindberg. The 2019 growth is even more impressive given the that historical annual growth (CAGR) was 15.6% in the period from 2010 – 2019.

With a total supply of 667 TWh and demand at 621 TWh in 2019, the market surplus shrunk to 46 TWh, the lowest since 2015. This may indicate that the market will enjoy a better balance where prices again could start to rise.

During earlier years, only a few countries contributed heavily to the growth. This has now changed and market growth is seen across almost all national markets. This is encouraging, and represents a robustness not experienced previously.

Wind and solar are the fastest growing technologies. “Hydropower has provided much of the renewable energy with Guarantees of Origin in Europe and still has a big share, but changes are occurring rapidly. Hydropower’s share fell from 64% in 2018, to 61% in 2019. It is also worth noting that hydropower’s share was approximately 90% 10 years ago. The falling share of hydro can primarily be explained by increased availability of both solar and wind,” states Lindberg. Wind has grown quickly, from a 19% share in 2018, to 23% in 2019. Solar’s share is still small but has grown to a 5% share in 2019. Both technologies are expecting to continue to grasp market share from hydro.

For more news and technical articles from the global renewable industry read our latest issue of Energy Global magazine.

Energy Global’s Summer 2020 issue

The Summer issue of Energy Global provides in-depth technical articles covering technological advancements and future outlooks in the renewables sector, from companies including Sulzer, Power Ledger, JinkoSolar, Trelleborg Applied Technologies, Clir Renewables, and many more. The issue covers a spectrum of clean energies, from wind to hydrogen to solar to biofuels.

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