Europe is slowly but surely becoming less reliant on fossil fuels and the move to renewable resources is proving to be a success.
According to a study conducted by Ember and Agora Energiewende, two thinktanks that focus on renewable and clean energy, Europe was able to generate more power from renewable resources than fossil fuels in 2020. This feat is especially impressive seeing as it has never been done before.
The continent has wind, solar, hydropower and biomass to thank for its increase in renewable resources. These sources of power accounted for 38% of Europe’s electricity in 2020, up from 34.6% in 2019. The use of fossil fuels on the other hand dropped to 37% last year.
The largest contributors to this clean-energy switch were wind and solar power, which rose by 9% and 15% respectively. In terms of what European countries grew the most in relation to renewable resources were the Netherlands, Sweden, and Belgium.
Coal and nuclear power both dropped by 20% and 10% respectively. Gas did, however, remain a popular source of power in Europe, with the likes of Greece, the Netherlands, and Poland all increasing their gas usage in 2020. Ember and Agora Energiewende do however state that gas remained relatively cheap throughout the pandemic, which is why it was used so popular.
| BREAKING | Landmark moment as #renewables overtake fossil fuels as Europe’s main source of electricity in 2020.
— Ember (@EmberClimate) January 25, 2021
The results of the study suggest that wind and solar power is effectively replacing coal, rather than gas, across Europe. The continent still has a long way to go before it becomes truly green.
According to Ember and Agora Energiewende, “Renewables rise is still too slow – wind and solar generation growth must nearly triple to reach Europe’s 2030 green deal targets.”