Solar Leads Renewable Energy Generation In EU

Fossil Fuel Power Generation Declined To Historic Low In H1/2023 As Solar & Wind Surged

Solar Leads Renewable Energy Generation In EU

Ember’s analysis shows solar power generation in the EU improved by 13%, but sees this as an underestimation of its potential since a lot of countries do not report behind the meter distributed solar generation. (Photo Credit: Ember)

  • Ember’s new research shows EU’s fossil fuel power generation declined significantly in H1/2023  
  • Renewable energy generation, led by solar, instead improved their annual generation  
  • Analysts recommend a massive push for solar and wind for the region to replace fossil fuels faster with clean energy generation 

Energy thinktank Ember says European Union (EU) fossil fuel power generation dropped to the lowest on record in H1/2023, producing just 33% of its power, with persistently high gas and power prices driving down electricity demand, while solar and wind production increased significantly, leading the bloc’s clean energy transition.  

While solar and wind energy grew 13%  and 5% respectively, coal generation dropped by 23% and gas by 13%. This was due to electricity demand falling to a record low of 1,261 TWh below the 2020 pandemic’s 1,271 TWh.  

Austria, Czechia, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Poland and Slovenia reported a record low fossil fuel output since 2000. 

The growth of renewable energy generation, led by solar, shows EU’s efforts in accelerating the deployment of renewables, says Ember. During H1/2023, solar PV capacity additions increased across EU, and specifically in:  

  • Germany with 6.5 GW by 10% YoY 
  • Poland with 2 GW, by 17% YoY, and  
  • Belgium with 1.2 GW, by 19% YoY.    

Among other solar markets, Italy installed 2.5 GW in H1, compared to 3 GW in 2022, France installed 600 MW and Spain is expected to have deployed 7 GW, as per Ember.  

Together, both solar and wind accounted for over 30% of electricity production in the EU for the 1st time in May 2023 as well as in July 2023. Nuclear generation, on the other hand, fell by 3.6%, while hydro generation went up by 11%. Ember sees uncertain future for both these technologies in the near future.  

Analysts argue, “Even this is an underestimate of the true scale of solar generation, since in many countries behind the meter distributed solar is not reported as generation but instead appears as “missing” demand.” 

Ember’s Europe Data Analyst Matt Ewen recommends a massive push especially on solar and wind to underpin a resilient economy across the continent for clean power to replace fossil fuels faster.  

To get there, the bloc would need to deal with negative prices that are becoming too frequent and disruptive, not to forget grid congestion and transmission challenges.  

Analysts also demand urgent development of key enablers to support renewables such as streamlined permitting, grid expansion and adequate storage deployment to boost renewables faster.  

About The Author

Anu Bhambhani

SENIOR NEWS EDITOR Anu is our solar news whirlwind. At TaiyangNews, she covers everything that is of importance in the world of solar power. In the past 9 years that she has been associated with TaiyangNews, she has covered over thousands of stories, and analysis pieces on markets, technology, financials, and more on a daily basis. She also hosts TaiyangNews Conferences and Webinars. Prior to joining TaiyangNews, Anu reported on sustainability, management, and education for leading print dailies in India. [email protected]

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