Region: Electricity from RES overtakes generation from fossil fuels in Europe

, SEE Energy News

For the first time, fossil fuels generation fell to 37 %. Renewables accounted for 38 % of Europe’s electricity in 2020, overtaking generation from fossil fuels.

According to Ember and Agora Energiewende’s report, these renewables increase of 3.4 % from 2019 marks an important milestone in Europe’s Clean Energy Transition. At a country level, Germany and Spain, and the United Kingdom separately, also achieved this milestone for the first time.

The report showed, however, that while the coronavirus pandemic impacted all countries, its effect on the overall trend from fossil fuels to renewables was quite limited. According to the report, the transition from coal to clean energy is, however, still too slow for reaching 55 % greenhouse gas reductions by 2030 and climate neutrality by 2050.

The report shows that Europe’s electricity in 2020 was 29 % cleaner than in 2015. Carbon intensity has fallen from 317 grams of CO2 per kWh in 2015 to 226 grams in 2020. Although coal generation has almost halved in that time, 43 % of the coal decline has been offset by increased gas generation, slowing the reduction in carbon intensity.

Director of Agora Energiewende Patrick Graichen said that, although renewables overtaking fossils is an important milestone in Europe’s clean energy transition, much more effort is needed to combat climate change. According to him, the European Green Deal, bloc’s response to the climate crisis, requires some 100 TWh of annual additions of renewables, a doubling of the deployment speed seen in 2020. Post-pandemic recovery programs thus need to go hand-in-hand with accelerated climate action.