The report, which has been tracking the EU’s energy sector since 2015, found that renewables provided 38% of electricity last year, compared to 37% of fossil fuels.
The shift comes as other sources, such as wind and solar power, rise in the European Union. The report found that both sources have nearly doubled since 2015, and as of last year they account for a fifth of electricity generation in European Union countries. It is also the reason why coal power decreased by 20% last year, making up only 13% of the electricity generated in Europe.
“Rapid growth in wind and solar power has pushed coal into decline, but that’s just the beginning,” said Dave Jones, Ember’s chief electrical analyst and lead author of the report, in a statement. “Europe relies on wind and solar energy to ensure not only the phase-out of coal by 2030, but also the phase-out of gas generation, the replacement of closed nuclear power plants, and the increasing demand for electricity from electric cars, heat pumps and electrolyzers.”
Covid-19 lockdown measures last year have reduced electricity demand around the world. European demand fell 4% in 2020, according to the report, which said Covid trends have had no impact on the growth of renewables. The report noted that since 2015, electricity emissions in Europe have recorded a historic low, being 29% cleaner.
“The post-pandemic economic recovery should not slow down climate action,” said Patrick Gration, director of Agora Energiewende, in a statement. “So we need a strong climate policy – as in the Green Deal – to ensure steady progress.”
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