According to a report by think tanks E3G and Ember, renewable energy has accounted for a quarter of the EU’s electricity production since March 2022 and has allowed the bloc to replace approximately importing around 70 bcm of gas.
Thanks to record growth in solar and wind power capacity this year, the EU has avoided 99 billion euros in fossil gas imports since the start of the invasion of Ukraine. This was around 11 billion euros more than in the last year.
The study shows that, since March 2022, EU countries have managed to generate a record amount of wind and solar power for electricity. Poland had the largest increase from last year, producing 48.5% more energy compared with 2021.
This confirms the findings from a study by Ember and the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA), which found that the Ukraine war and fossil fuel price increases had accelerated the EU’s transition to renewable energy.
In the last two years, European governments have pledged to follow more ambitious decarbonisation strategies, with some aiming to switch all energy generation to renewable sources by 2030.
Analysts at Ember and E3G highlighted in the report that 20% of EU electricity still comes from natural gas, accounting for 82 billion euros worth of energy. The researchers also point out that continued investment in gas infrastructure could increase gas dependency in the coming years.
The report says: “Betting on gas as a bridge fuel and holding back on expanding renewable capacities are the main causes of Europe’s energy crisis.”
“The decision to pursue yet another diversification strategy and develop new gas infrastructure in the context of sustained high prices and tight LNG markets risks replicating past mistakes and will fail to bring relief from the current crisis.”
Climate data analyst at Ember, Pawel Czyzak, added: “The EU has put the energy transition on turbocharge, with governments getting serious about cutting out costly fossil fuels. There’s a consensus that ramping up wind and solar power quicker can help the EU head off multiple crises.”
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