Amidst COVID European Renewables Notch Report Yr
Europe recorded the greenest electricity year ever in 2020. For the first time, more electricity was generated from renewable energies than from fossil fuels. According to a joint analysis by Agora Energiewende and Ember, a UK-based think tank, renewables accounted for 38% of the European electricity mix in 2020 – compared to just 37% for fossil fuels.
The change was due to the rapid growth of wind and solar energy, which has almost doubled since 2015. By 2020, one fifth of EU electricity came from wind and solar power plants. The highest shares were recorded in Denmark (61%), Ireland (35%), Germany (33%) and Spain (29%).
While renewable energies have almost doubled, coal-fired power generation has halved since 2015. In 2020 alone it fell by a fifth. Coal-fired power plants provided 13% of Europe’s electricity last year. In contrast, electricity generation from natural gas only decreased by 4% in 2020. The background to this uneven development is the significant price increase for emission certificates. As a result, comparatively climate-friendly gas-fired power plants often produced the cheapest electricity among power plants using fossil fuels.
“It is significant that Europe has reached this milestone at the beginning of a decade of global climate action,” said Dave Jones, senior electric analyst and lead author of the report at Ember. “The rapid growth of wind and sun has forced the decline of coal. Europe is relying on wind and sun to ensure that not only will coal run out by 2030, but that gas production will also run out, closed nuclear power plants replaced and the rising demand for electricity met by electric cars, heat pumps and electrolysers. “
Click here to access the latest analysis by Agora Energiewende and Ember, The European Power Sector in 2020.