Europe has been reducing its dependence on fossil fuels as a source of electricity year after year. 2020 has been a watershed year, according to a new report from Ember and Agora Energiewende . Last year, Europe produced more energy from renewable sources for the first time, according to researchers.
Wind, solar, bio and hydropower are responsible for 38% of total energy production, with fossil fuels accounting for 37%. The most significant growth was in solar and wind energy, accounting for 15% and 9% respectively. The most advanced countries were the Netherlands, Sweden and Belgium.
Coal and nuclear power fell by 20% and 10%, respectively, but gas is still popular. This source of energy was relatively cheap during the pandemic, with only a 4% drop over a 12-month period. And in some countries, gas-fueled energy has even grown – in Greece, the Netherlands and Poland. Thus, wind and solar power mainly displace coal, not gas.
Despite the positive results, all this does not mean that the world will be clean for another couple of decades. The problem is that many developing countries do not intend to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels and the argument is quite valid – Europe has been actively using hydrocarbons to fuel its development, so why can’t other countries do the same.
On the other hand, we are already on the vector of a global crisis, so everyone should take measures to reduce emissions, because the consequences will hit the developing countries especially hard.
Even Europe needs to triple the growth of wind and solar farms to meet its 2030 target.