Europe enters elections as global clean power leader

Chief Europe Correspondent
Source: Ember • Yearly electricity data.

As Europeans head to the polls this weekend to vote in the European Union’s parliamentary elections, they can boast one of the cleanest electricity mixes in the world, outperforming other major economies such as the United States and China. 

The EU’s power sector is half as emissions intensive as the global average, according to a new analysis out this week from climate think tank Ember. 

The EU also continues to be a global leader in wind and solar. The renewables generate an average of 27% of the bloc’s power, double the global average of 13%. 

Ember tracked the EU’s power sector transformation between 2019, when the current EU electoral term began, and 2023 — a period when climate and energy policies topped the bloc’s agenda. The analysis found renewables helped cut fossil generation by a fifth during this period. 

These strong green results come amid growing backlash against climate policies as people and businesses in Europe grapple with high energy costs and what they perceive to be numerous restrictive green regulations trickling into their daily lives. 

Europeans are set to elect a new European Parliament during elections between June 6 to 9, with far-right parties — embracing climate-skeptic approaches — slated to make big gains. A political shift to the right could threaten the speed of Europe’s energy transition, experts worry. 

The election results will shape the formation of the next European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, which will set the tone and direction of the EU’s climate policies for the next five years.