People loading solar panels

Wind and Solar Overtake Fossil Fuels in the EU as Energy Transition hits ‘Hyperdrive’


Ember, a prominent energy think tank, projects an unprecedented collapse in the EU’s dependence on fossil fuel power this year. In a historic first, wind and solar energy generated more electricity in the EU during May than all fossil fuels combined.

Renewable Power Outshines Fossil Fuels

Ember’s report illustrates a monumental shift in the EU’s energy production. Wind and solar power accounted for nearly a third of the EU’s electricity in May, leaving fossil fuels in the dust with a record low of 27 per cent. This milestone signifies the first full month in recorded history where renewables have outperformed fossil fuels in the EU.

Ember’s Europe lead Sarah Brown couldn’t contain her enthusiasm. “Europe’s electricity transition has hit hyperdrive,” she stated. “Clean power keeps smashing record after record.”

The Driving Forces behind the EU’s Renewable Power Growth

Ember attributes this impressive uptick in renewable energy to a combination of robust solar power growth, strong wind energy performance, and an overall decrease in electricity demand. Solar power alone furnished 14 per cent of the EU’s electricity in May, achieving a new record high.

In a surprising twist, solar power even outpaced coal without the aid of summer sun, pushing coal power, which only accounted for a tenth of total energy production, to the sidelines.

Wind Power’s Continuing Ascendancy

While wind energy generation experienced growth from May last year, it fell slightly short of the record set in January of this year when it contributed to 23 per cent of the EU’s power. However, ongoing efforts to install new renewable energy sources caused fossil fuel generation to decline significantly from January to May, allowing solar and wind energy to step into the limelight.

A Continental Shift to Renewable Energy

Countries across the EU have been boosting their renewable energy capacity. Portugal, for example, increased its solar capacity by over 50% to 2.5 GW by installing 0.9 GW of solar photovoltaics in 2022, enough to power around 1 million homes. This added capacity elevated the country’s wind and solar generation to over 50 per cent of its electricity production in April.

Similarly, Spain, Sweden, and Belgium have all set new records for renewable energy generation this year, contributing to the EU’s renewable power surge.

Fossil Fuels: On the Decline

The EU’s reliance on fossil fuels is dwindling, with coal accounting for just 10% of power and gas reaching its lowest share since 2018 at 15 per cent. Ember observes a clear downward trend in fossil fuel use that began in late 2022 and continues into this year.

Even in countries traditionally dependent on coal, like Germany and Poland, coal power generation fell to record lows in May.

A Future Powered by Wind and Solar Energy

The renewable energy revolution in the EU is gathering momentum. As Italy plans to decommission its coal-fired power plants by 2024, a year earlier than planned, if gas prices remain low, the role of wind and solar power as the primary sources of electricity is becoming more apparent.

Ember’s Europe Electricity Review highlights that wind and solar took over as the EU’s top electricity source for the first time in 2022. Record-breaking installations of new wind and solar energy capacities helped the EU navigate the “triple crisis” of Russian gas supply restrictions, hydropower complications due to drought, and unexpected nuclear outages.

Sarah Brown concluded by stating, “The EU is on track for a huge collapse in fossil power this year, as wind and solar emerge as the backbone of the future electricity system.”

Read more at:

Related Posts

Tri-Bird Electric Train
Inside the factory making ‘tri-bird’ electric trains that could revolutionize transport in Europe

Choosing to hop on public transport instead of jumping into a private car...

Turning Ocean Legacy Plastic into Useful Items

Plastic pollution is a major problem that is harming our oceans and marine...