Europe maintains renewables momentum in electricity generation

Chief Europe Correspondent
Source: The Fraunhofer Institute • The original data comes from the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity. Renewables include: solar, onshore and offshore wind, hydropower and biomass. Fossil fuels include: coal, oil, natural gas, non-renewable waste.

Renewable energy sources have maintained their strong performance so far this year in the European Union, generating 41% of the bloc’s electricity through the first half of January, according to a continuously updated dataset. 

The performance is a testament to the bloc’s accelerated embrace of renewables in response to the energy security crisis that followed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in early 2022. 

Onshore and offshore wind made up more than half of the energy coming from renewables in Europe in recent weeks, shows data from the EU’s electricity network association, ENTSO-E, compiled by German think tank the Fraunhofer Institute. 

The strong start to the new year follows a record-breaking 2023, when the EU generated about 43% of the bloc’s power production from renewables, up from 37% in 2022. 

At the same time, the share of fossil fuels in the EU’s energy mix dropped from around 39% in 2022 to below 32% in 2023, according to the ENTSO-E data. 

While the EU is moving in the right direction to clean up its grid, the bloc will be challenged in coming years to speed up the decarbonization of other sectors, such as transport, agriculture and industry. All three areas are key to meeting the EU’s wider climate ambitions. 

The picture is also more nuanced at the national level.  

For example, Austria got over 78% of its power needs from renewables in early January, with about half of that amount coming from hydropower. Meanwhile, Bulgaria met only about 16% of its power needs from renewables during the same period, relying more heavily on nuclear (43.5%) and coal and gas (40%).  

The data is provided for free by the Fraunhofer Institute and is searchable by country, day, week, month and year.