Carbon emissions from electricity generation in the EU have dropped from 1198 MtCO2 in 2000 to 970 MtCO2 in 2015, after an initial increase to 1304 MtCO2 in 2007. This pattern reversal is not only explained by socioeconomic drivers (an initial period of robust economic growth followed by weaker growth) but by profound shifts in the energy system. This study quantitatively evaluates the drivers of carbon emissions from EU electricity generation during two subperiods, 2000–2007 and 2007–2015. In 2000–2007 the main drivers of the decrease in carbon emissions were changes in the fossil fuel mix (replacement of coal by gas) and improvements in the efficiency of electricity use. In 2007–2015 the main drivers of the decrease in carbon emissions were the expansion of renewable electricity, improvements in the efficiency of fossil electricity production and improvements in the efficiency of electricity use. There is significant variation in the drivers of change among countries. The authors expect the continued expansion of renewables to balance economic growth in the future.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Carbon emissions, Decomposition analysis, Electricity sector, EU countries
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.rser.2020.110104, hdl.handle.net/1765/130047
Journal Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
Citation
Rodrigues, J.F.D. (João F.D.), Wang, J. (Juan), Behrens, P. (Paul), & de Boer, P.M.C. (2020). Drivers of CO2 emissions from electricity generation in the European Union 2000–2015. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 133. doi:10.1016/j.rser.2020.110104