Sunday, June 23, 2024

EU wind and solar growth displaces fossil fuel generation, report says

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(Reuters) – Wind and solar power generation in the European Union increased by 46% from 2019, when the current European Commission took office, to 2023, displacing a fifth of the bloc’s fossil fuel generation, a report by think tank Ember showed.


The Commission has proposed a target of 45% of renewable energy sources in the overall energy mix by 2030.

European Parliament elections are held on June 6-9. Polls suggest the main pro-EU groups around the political centre – the centre-right, centre-left, Greens and liberals – will have a smaller majority than currently, while the far-right will make gains.

While many EU policies to curb greenhouse gas emissions are already in place, some laws have reviews coming up in the next five years and pushing through more ambitious legislation might be tougher.


EU wind and solar capacity has increased 65% since 2019. Wind capacity rose 31% to 219 gigawatts (GW) in 2023, while solar capacity more than doubled to 257 GW, equivalent to installing more than 230,000 solar panels every day during the four years, the report said.

Without this expansion, fossil generation would have fallen just 1.9% (21 TWh) instead of 22%, as lower electricity demand was offset by a decrease in generation from other clean energy sources.


“The EU now has more home grown wind and solar than ever, pushing both coal and gas electricity generation down to historic lows,” said Sarah Brown, Europe programme director at Ember.

“The EU is now in the midst of a historic, permanent shift away from reliance on fossil fuels for power.”


The additional solar and wind capacity helped push the share of total renewables to 44% of the EU electricity mix in 2023 from 34% in 2019.

Meanwhile, a decline in coal and gas generation has pulled the share of fossil fuel generation down to 32.5% from 39%.

(Reporting by Nina Chestney; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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