Renewables Trump Fossil Fuels in Europe for H1 2020: Report

In H1 2020, renewable energy sources generated 40 percent of the EU-27 (European Union) electricity as they trumped fossil fuels for the very first time

In the first half (H1) of 2020, renewable energy sources – wind, solar and bioenergy – generated 40 percent of the EU-27 (European Unions) electricity as they trumped fossil fuels (34 percent) for the very first time to become the leading source of energy generation in the EU.

Detailed in a new report by Ember, renewable capacity rose by 11 percent. Driven largely by new wind and solar installations and favourable conditions during a mild and windy start to the year. Wind and solar alone reached a record of 21 percent of Europe’s total electricity generation and reached even higher penetration in Denmark (64 percent), Ireland (49 percent) and Germany (42 percent).

Fossil Fuels H1 2020

“Although electricity grids have coped well with record wind and solar penetrations, negative prices are highlighting inflexibilities in supply and demand that need to be addressed,” the report highlighted.

The report also adds that fossil fuels fell by 18 percent, squeezed on two fronts: by rising renewable generation and a 7 percent fall in electricity demand due to COVID-19. Coal took the brunt of the hit, falling by 32 percent. Of that, hard coal generation fell 34 percent and lignite fell 29 percent. Even gas generation registered a fall of 6 percent, falling in eleven countries. As a result, EU-27 power sector CO2 emissions fell by about 23 percent.

Fossil Fuels H1 2020

“This marks a symbolic moment in the transition of Europe’s electricity sector. Renewables generated more electricity than fossil fuels, driven by wind and solar replacing coal. That’s fast progress from just nine years ago when fossil fuels generated twice as much as renewables. But the change is not equal: Poland is now Europe’s biggest coal generator and Czechia is the third largest. For countries like Poland and Czechia there is now a clear way out, should they choose to take it. Europe’s Next Generation recovery deal can help countries fast-track their coal to clean transition by using stimulus spending to immediately step up wind and solar investment, and an expanded Just Transition Fund to move away from coal.” Said Dave Jones – Senior electricity analyst, Ember.

In another milestone, Germany’s coal generation collapses below Poland’s for the first time. Poland now generating more coal-fired electricity than Germany, and also as much as the remaining 25 EU countries combined. Whilst most other countries, including Germany, have a plan to phase out coal, Poland doesn’t yet have a plan.

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Ayush Verma

Ayush is a staff writer at and writes on renewable energy with a special focus on solar and wind. Prior to this, as an engineering graduate trying to find his niche in the energy journalism segment, he worked as a correspondent for