Wind and solar provided 18% of the European Union's electricity with 569 terawatt-hours (TWh) in 2019 surpassing for the first time the share of coal at 15%, according to a new report prepared by the climate think tank EMBER in partnership with the German think tank Agora Energiewende.
The report entitled European Power Sector in 2019 revealed that electricity generation from coal has changed drastically over the last five years.
In 2019, coal generated 469 TWh, but five years ago, the EU produced twice as much from coal as it did from wind and solar, the report showed.
"In just one year, coal generation fell 24% in the EU and is now less than half the level in 2007. This led to a 12% fall in European power sector CO2 emissions in 2019 alone marking the biggest fall since at least 1990," the report showed.
From 2010 to 2019, coal’s share in the electricity mix fell by 10%, while wind and solar combined rose by 13%, the data showed.
Two new countries, Greece and Hungary, announced their coal phase-out plans in 2019. Greece and Hungary said they would cease generating electricity from coal by 2028 and 2030 respectively, bringing the total to-be coal free countries by 2030 to 20 out of 28 countries.
Last year's output from wind and solar generation rose because of new capacity installations.
The EU added 17 gigawatts (GW) of new solar capacity last year by doubling the rate of 2018 while the wind capacity is estimated to have expanded by around 14 GW as the second-highest amount on record, according to the report.
Power generation from gas rose as higher CO2 prices and low gas prices boosted the competitiveness of gas plants in relation to coal generation.
By Nuran Erkul Kaya