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Crossover — Solar & Wind Power Now Producing More Electricity Than Fossil Fuels In EU!

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The European Union (EU) has hit a crossover point. For the first time in history, solar power and wind power have combined for more electricity generation than fossil fuels in the EU. Last month, the two core renewables of the new clean energy era achieved that historic crossover point.

New data from Ember came out at the end of last week provides us with the news.

To push them over the edge, solar power provided a record 14% of the EU’s electricity, from a record 27 TWh. That May total even beats the solar record set in the middle of summer, July, last year.

This is also the first time that solar electricity beat coal electricity — 14% versus 10%.

Wind power provided 17% (32 TWh) of the EU’s electricity in May. Clearly, that beats both of those other sources, but it’s not wind power’s record. Wind power’s best month ever was 23% (54 TWh).

“The strong performance of wind and solar meant that EU coal generation fell to an all-time monthly low in May, with just 10% (20 TWh) of EU electricity coming from the most polluting source,” Ember writes. “The record-low coal generation in May was just below the previous record set during the pandemic lockdowns, when coal power generated slightly above 10% of EU electricity in April 2020. Fossil gas recorded the lowest share of generation since 2018 at just 15% of EU electricity during May. …

“From January to May this year, coal and gas generation have fallen by 20% and 15% respectively compared to the same period in 2022, whilst solar has increased by 10% and wind is up 5%. Ember’s European Electricity Review published in January identified that wind and solar generation overtook gas in the EU in 2022, the first full year this had happened. Now wind and solar have produced more than all fossil fuels combined in a single month.”

Across European countries, solar and wind electricity have been growing while fossil fuels have been declining. As one examaple, in Poland, long dominated by coal, the dirty fossil fuel source dropped to a record low 62% (7 TWh). There’s still a long way to go.

“Solar and wind are helping to cut fossil fuel use. Not only did coal power set new lows, but gas is also tumbling. 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,” Ember’s Europe lead, Sarah Brown, noted.

We’ll see how solar and wind do by the end of 2023, and in 2024. No doubt about it, new records are coming.

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