Europe's renewable electricity generation, for the first time ever, surpassed fossil fuel production in the first half of 2020, according to a recent report released by London-based climate think tank EMBER.
Renewables – wind, solar, hydro and bioenergy – produced 40% of the electricity of the EU 27 [EU members excluding the UK], while fossil fuels produced 34%, EMBER revealed in its half-yearly report.
“This marks a symbolic moment in the transition of Europe’s electricity sector,” said EMBER’s electricity analyst.
Renewables increased by 1%, which was powered by new wind and solar installations and favorable conditions during a mild and windy start to the year, according to EMBER.
Wind and solar alone reached a record of 21% of Europe’s total electricity generation, and this reached even higher in Denmark with 65%, 49% in Ireland and 42% in Germany.
The study also reported an 18% decline in fossil fuels.
“Fossil was squeezed on two fronts: by rising renewable generation and a 7% fall in electricity demand due to COVID-19. Coal took the brunt, falling by 32%. Of that, hard coal generation fell 34% and lignite fell 29%. Even gas generation registered a fall of 6%, falling in eleven countries,” it said noting a 23% drop in CO2 emissions in the EU-27 power sector.
According to the report, Germany's electricity production has fallen below that of Poland for the first time. Currently, Poland generates more coal-fired energy than Germany and as much as the remaining European countries combined. Although most other countries are preparing to phase out coal, like Germany, Poland still has no plan.
“That’s fast progress from just nine years ago when fossil fuels generated twice as much as renewables,” Jones said.
By Sibel Morrow