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Fossil fuels now generate less than a quarter of EU electricity

New data from energy think tank Ember reveals that in April 2024, the EU witnessed a historic decline in fossil generation. For the first time, less than a quarter of the EU’s electricity (23%) was produced from fossil fuels. This surpassed the previous record low of 27% in May 2023.

Last year fossil fuels generated less than a third of the EU’s electricity (33%) for the first time, while solar and wind reached a record 27%, according to Ember’s European Electricity Review.

The transition from fossil fuels to solar and wind has continued to gather pace in 2024. Generation from fossil fuels in April 2024 dropped by 24% (-14.8 TWh) compared to April 2023. Both coal and gas fell sharply. Coal generation contributed just 8.6% to the electricity mix and fell by 30% compared to the same month the previous year (-7.8 TWh). Meanwhile, gas generation provided only 12.1% of the mix, witnessing a 22% year-on-year decline (-6.8 TWh).

Among EU countries, Germany saw the largest fall in fossil generation compared to April last year, with a 26% drop (-4.8 TWh), representing 32% of the total EU fall. Italy saw the second largest fall (-24%, -2.2 TWh), contributing another 15% to the regional fall.

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Wind and solar generated a record third of EU electricity for the first time

In April 2024, wind and solar generated more than a third (34%) of EU electricity for the first time, reaching a new milestone in the EU energy transition. This share beats the previous record from May 2023 (31%). Overall, renewables produced over half (54%) of EU electricity in April.

Even with recovering electricity demand, fossil fuel generation is plummeting

Despite a recovery in electricity demand, the EU witnessed a remarkable shift toward renewable energy sources. While fossil generation dropped by 18% year-on-year for the first four months of 2024, wind and solar generation increased by 14% compared to the same period last year.

With renewables displacing fossil fuels from the mix, EU power sector emissions were down 18% year-on-year over January to April 2024.

“The once unthinkable is happening before our eyes,” said Sarah Brown, Ember’s Europe Programme Director. “Fossil fuels are on the way out of Europe’s power sector. Solar and wind have stepped up as the main players, proving they are ready to take on their role as the backbone of the modern clean electricity system.”

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