Renewable energy overtake fossil fuels for European electricity generation in 2020

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According to a report by German think tank and research organization Ember and Agora Energiewende, Europeans received more of their electricity from renewable sources of energy than fossil fuels for the first time last year.

Renewable sources of energy contributed 38 per cent of the total electricity of the European Union in 2020 while fossil fuels contributed 37 per cent of the total electricity.

This shift signals the beginning of action against climate change and comes as renewable sources of energy such as wind and solar power have doubled since 2015 in the European Union.

“Rapid growth in wind and solar has forced coal into decline, but this is just the beginning,” said Dave Jones, senior electricity analyst for Ember and lead author on the report, in a statement. “Europe is relying on wind and solar to ensure not only coal is phased out by 2030, but also to phase out gas generation, replace closing nuclear power plants, and to meet rising electricity demand from electric cars, heat pumps and electrolysers.​”

It is also worthwhile to note that there was a 4 per cent drop in overall electricity demand in the EU last year due to the lockdowns and restrictions of the coronavirus pandemic. However, this drop impacted electricity generated through fossil fuels the most: according to the report, coal-fired power generation fell 20% in 2020 and has halved since 2015.

Also, Europe’s electricity emissions recorded a historic decline, becoming 29% cleaner since just 5 years back.

Among all the nations of the European Union, Denmark achieved the highest proportion of wind and solar power, which contributed 61 per cent of the total energy. Ireland and Germany were second and third respectively, with renewable sources contributing 35 per cent and 33 per cent of the energy needs.

Countries with the lowest share of renewables, below 5%, were Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

This news comes amidst a deliberate attempt by all nations across the world to cut greenhouse gas and use cleaner energy. For instance, EU leaders pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 55% from 1990 levels by 2030 recently. Also, many European nations are actively phasing out coal plants to reach their emission reduction targets.

This is certainly a step in the right direction for the entire world. Do you agree? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

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