Brussels — European primary gas demand fell 1.9% to 599 Bcm in 2018, while renewable power generation grew 8.5% to 1,462 TWh, the International Energy Agency said in a report Tuesday.
The figures reveal how renewables are displacing both coal and gas in European power generation, in contrast to the US and China, where gas demand climbed sharply on coal-to-gas switching.
Renewables reached a record 37% share of German power generation in 2018, overtaking coal for the first time, the IEA said in its Global Energy and CO2 Status Report 2018.
They also reached a record 35% share of the UK's total 335 TWh of power generation in 2018, while coal's share fell to a record low of 5%.
Overall, European primary coal demand fell 2.6% to 462 million metric tons of coal equivalent, while demand grew everywhere else in the world except the US, where it was down 4.5% to 451 million mtce.
European gas demand fell to 599 Bcm on lower use in power generation, and also because of a mild fourth quarter reducing heating demand.
Gas demand grew in the rest of the world however, up 11% in the US to 854 Bcm and 18% in China to 279 Bcm in 2018.
European power demand grew by less than 1% in 2018, the IEA said, without giving more details.
Overall European primary energy demand was almost flat at 0.2% growth to 2 billion mt of oil equivalent, despite economic growth of 1.8%.
Higher energy efficiency helped cut Germany's overall energy demand by 2.2%, for example, the IEA said.
European energy-related emissions fell by 1.3% to 4 billion mt of CO2, driven by a 4.5% drop in Germany, as both oil and coal burn fell sharply.
UK energy-related emissions fell for the sixth year, "hitting some of the lowest levels recorded since 1888," the IEA said, without giving more details.
France also saw energy-related emissions drop significantly as higher hydropower and nuclear availability saw coal and gas plants used less in 2018 than 2017, the IEA said, without giving detailed figures.
Energy-related emissions rose 1.7% on average globally, rising 4.8% to 2.3 billion mt CO2 in India, 3.1% to 4.9 billion mt CO2 in the US, and 2.5% to 9.5 billion mt CO2 in China.