EU’s Coal Regions Hold 874 TWh Solar PV Potential

European Union’s Joint Research Centre Sees 730.3 GW Solar PV Potential For Europe’s Coal Regions In Transition Claiming PV Can Fully Substitute Current Coal Fired Power Generation When Supported By Flexible Production & Storage
04:06 AM (Beijing Time) - 06. August 2019
coal plant

A new study by the European Union’s Joint Research Centre claims coal regions in transition (CRiT) in the region hold 730.3 GW of total solar PV capacity potential with power generation of 874.3 TWh (Photo Credit: TaiyangNews)

Key Takeaways

  • A new study by the European Union’s Joint Research Centre claims coal regions in transition (CRiT) in the region hold 730.3 GW of total solar PV capacity potential with power generation of 874.3 TWh
  • If PV development takes place alongside retirement of coal and lignite mines and coal fired power plants, large-scale PV deployment of 580.1 GW can happen over 15 years
  • 2 GW of utility scale ground mounted PV systems can be installed on estimated mine areas
  • Another 88 GW rooftop solar potential can also be expected in the scheme of things

Europe’s coal regions in transition (CRiT) carry a solar power capacity potential of 730.3 GW and power generation of 874.3 TWh, according to a new report Solar Photovoltaic Electricity Generation: A Lifeline for the European Coal Regions in Transition by the European Union’s Joint Research Centre (JRC).

Coal and lignite power plants in 21 EU member states as of February 2019 totalled 248 with a total power capacity of 152.5 GW. According to the report, PV systems can fully substitute the current electricity generation of coal-fired power plants in the analysed regions where open-cast coal mines are planned to cease operations in the near future. However, for PV to be able to do this, enough flexible production and storage capacities need to be added.

The analysis sees 580.1 GW of technical potential for ground mounted utility scale systems in the CRiT using only 3% of the suitable land here leading to around 704.8 TWh of annual electricity production. This can be achieved if the retirement of coal and lignite mines as well as coal fired power stations goes hand in hand with the installation of larger PV systems over the next 15 years.

Estimated mine areas can host utility scale ground mounted PV systems with 62.2 GW capacity while the area’s rooftop solar potential is estimated at 88 GW.

The installation of such a scale of PV systems would be revolutionary for the EU and global market as it would be equal to installations six times higher than those existing at the end of 2018 (117 GW) in the EU,” claims the study.

Commenting on the findings of the report, SolarPower Europe’s CEO Walburga Hemetsberger said, “Solar has enormous potential in coal regions in the EU, that can bring new industry, jobs and clean affordable energy to those affected by the decline of coal, ensuring no one is left behind. Now, we look forward to continuing our work with the EU’s Platform on Coal Regions in Transition, where solar can play a major role in advancing a just energy transition for all.”

Anu Bhambhani

Anu Bhambhani is the Senior News Editor of TaiyangNews

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Anu Bhambhani