For the first time, green energy, which includes wind, solar, hydro and bioenergy, has generated a bigger share of electricity in the European Union than fossil fuels.
What does it mean?
In the first half of 2020, green energy generated 40% of European Union electricity, compared to the 34% generated by fossil fuels. Buoyed by new solar and wind installations, favorable weather, and the drop in demand for fossil fuels due to Covid-19, this is the first time green energy beats fossil fuels on producing more electricity in the EU. This signals a switch from coal, which some European countries are phasing out and many others reducing its use considerably, to renewable energies such as solar and wind. It is also a sign of the increasing economical uncompetitiveness of coal and the change of mindset of the population.
Climate change is one of the biggest risks the world is facing at the moment and this signal shows we are moving in the right direction, but it could be too little, too late. This year is an exceptional one due to Covid-19, so it is not clear whether this is a one-off or the start of a new trend, and green energy will consistently produce more electricity than fossil fuels. Also, this has happened only in the UE so far, arguably the greenest region in the world. Other regions have still a lot to catch up on.
Governments, companies, and individuals need to continue working towards reducing emissions. We’ll see in the second half of 2020 if this was a fluke born out of the exceptional circumstances or is the start of a permanent trend. There is still much work to be done to continue fighting climate change.