EU achieves greenest electricity mix with 74% cO2-free sources

The European Union (EU) achieved its greenest electricity mix to date, with 74 per cent of power generated from CO2 emissions-free sources in the first half of the year, according to industry data released on Monday by Eurelectric.

Renewable sources like wind and solar contributed to 50 per cent, while nuclear accounted for 24 per cent. This shift marks a significant milestone, with coal and gas generating just 9 per cent and 13 per cent of electricity, respectively, their lowest shares for any comparable period.

“The electricity generation of Europe has never had such a low-carbon profile before,” said Kristian Ruby, Secretary General of Eurelectric.

Key factors driving this change include the EU’s installation of 56 gigawatts (GW) of new solar power capacity and 16 GW of new wind capacity in 2023, the highest annual increase to date.

Additionally, overall electricity demand in the EU dropped by 5.8 per cent compared to the same period in 2021, partly due to the lingering effects of the 2022 energy crisis, which led to record-high prices and forced industries to reduce energy consumption.

However, the rapid increase in renewable energy capacity has strained ageing power grids. Belgian grid operator Elia recently highlighted the challenge of balancing surplus cheap energy with a surge in solar capacity.

Ruby emphasised the urgent need for policymakers to invest in upgrading power grids and adding storage capacity to manage excess renewable power.

“We need a physical build-out of the grid with quite a bit of urgency,” Ruby stated.

Attribution: Reuters.

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