Reneweable Energy Outstrips Coal in Europe

19 February by Sally Woods


Renewable generation in the EU of 155 terrawatt-hours provided a record 30% of the region's electricity in 2017, according to a report by think thanks Sandbag and Agora Energiewende.  Wind, solar and biomass grew to 20.9% of the EU electricity mix, up from 9.7% in 2010 and surpassing coal for the first time.

The report also recognises that with Europe's economy being on a growth path again, that power demand is rising; electricity consumption rose by 0.7%, making a third consecutive year of increases.  This suggests that Europe's efficiency efforts are not sufficient and hence the EU's efficiency policy needs further strengthening.

UK wind farms generated more electricity than coal plants on more than 75% of days in 2017 and solar also outperformed coal by more than 50%.  Overall renewables generated more than three times the amount of electricity as coal over the year.

The focus now turns to gas, with daily output from wind outstripping gas on only two days of the year, and renewables overall – including wind, solar, biomass and hydropower – beating the fossil fuel on just 23 days.

Emma Pinchbeck, executive director at industry body RenewableUK, said “We want to see more boldness from the Conservative government. In 2018, the government should move to allow onshore wind, now the cheapest form of power for consumers, to be developed in parts of the UK where it is wanted, and agree an ambitious sector deal with the offshore wind industry.

Browse all renewable energy jobs