EU Wind And Solar Energy Output Soars As Bloc Shuns Russian Gas
Wind and solar power have made up a record 24% of the European Union’s electricity mix since Russia launched its war on Ukraine, a new report says, a boost that has also helped the bloc battle soaring inflation, Christian Edwards reported for CNN.
Photo Insert: The boost in renewables comes as Europe tries to wean itself off Russian gas, as Moscow reduces, even cuts off, European nations’ energy supplies to gain leverage in the conflict.
The growth in renewable power capacity has saved the 27-nation bloc €99 billion ($97 billion) in avoided gas imports between March and September, which is €11 billion ($10.8 billion) more when compared with the same period from last year, according to the report published by climate think tanks E3G and Ember.
The boost in renewables comes as Europe tries to wean itself off Russian gas, as Moscow reduces, even cuts off, European nations’ energy supplies to gain leverage in the conflict.
The war has forced the the EU to confront its costly dependence on Russian gas, which in 2020 accounted for 41% of the EU’s imports of the fossil fuel. Nineteen of the EU’s 27 member states have achieved record wind and solar generation since March, the report found.
Poland had the greatest percentage year-on-year increase of 48.5%, while Spain recorded the greatest absolute generation increase with 7.4 terawatt hours (TWh). Spain’s renewable generation alone avoided €1.7 billion ($1.7 billion) in imported gas costs.
The think tanks warned, however, that there was still a long way to go in reaching the bloc’s renewables potential. Fossil gas still made up around 20% of the EU’s electricity in the same period, at a cost of around €82 billion ($80.7 billion).
“Wind and solar are already helping European citizens,” Chris Rosslowe, senior analyst at Ember, said in a statement. “But the future potential is even greater.”
Wind and solar generated 345 TWh of electricity across the EU from March to September this year – a record year-on-year increase of 13%.
Total renewable capacity would have been far higher, had hydroelectricity not been down 21% due to droughts this summer, which scientists say have been made worse by the human-caused climate crisis. The report’s key message is simply: “More renewables, less inflation.”