If you would have told us back in 2015 that Europeans would get more of their electricity from renewable sources rather than fossil fuels in five years’ time, we wouldn’t have believed you. Sure, we are optimistic, but such growth in the renewable energy sector seemed unprecedented at that point in time considering the steep price difference between fossil fuels and clean energy.
Today, however, we are here to report that Europeans DID get more of their electricity from renewable sources than fossil fuels for the first time ever in 2020, according to an annual report from Ember and Agora Energiewende.
The report found that renewables delivered 38 percent of electricity last year while fossil fuels delivered 37 percent. Solar and wind power are the major drivers for this shift as both sources have nearly doubled since 2015.
“Rapid growth in wind and solar has forced coal into decline, but this is just the beginning,” said Dave Jones, senior electricity analyst for Ember. “Europe is relying on wind and solar to ensure not only coal is phased out by 2030, but also to phase out gas generation, replace closing nuclear power plants, and to meet rising electricity demand from electric cars, heat pumps, and electrolyzers.”
Although the Covid-19 lockdown caused demand for electricity to fall across the world, the report indicates that Covid trends had no effect on the growth of renewable energy sources.
The exciting news that renewable energy has surpassed fossil fuels in Europe follows recent commitments made by leaders of the European Union to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 55 percent from 1990 levels by 2030.