For the first time, the EU produces more electricity from renewables than from gas
With the war against Ukraine came the energy crisis. The EU decided to reduce its dependency on Russian gas as much as possible – did it succeed?
In 2022, for the first time in the EU, more electricity was produced from wind and sun than from gas. According to an analysis by the Ember Climate think tank, around 22 percent of electricity in the EU came from solar and wind power last year, which is proportionally more than ever before. In 2021 it was about 19 percent. On the other hand, almost 20 percent of the EU electricity mix came from gas – almost one percentage point less than in 2021. According to Ember Climate, a total of 623 terawatt hours (TWh) came from wind and sun last year.
According to figures from the think tank, Germany generated the most wind and solar energy in 2022 – 126 terawatt hours from wind and 59 terawatt hours from the sun. However, the shares of wind and solar energy in the German electricity mix were lower compared to other EU countries: When it comes to generation from the sun, the Netherlands are the frontrunners with 14 percent of the total electricity mix, followed by Greece and Hungary (both 13 percent). According to the figures, Germany gets almost 10 percent of its electricity from the sun.
According to Ember Climate, Denmark is ahead with a more than 50 percent share of wind energy. Followed by Lithuania with almost 40 percent and Ireland with around 35 percent. The proportion in Germany is around 20 percent.
Gas purchases of ten billion euros avoided
According to the analysis, the EU produced 203 terawatt hours of electricity from the sun last year, 39 terawatt hours more than in 2021, which corresponds to an increase of 24 percent. That is double the previous record. According to the calculations, gas purchases of around ten billion euros could be avoided as a result. According to this, 20 of the 27 EU countries produced more solar energy in 2022 than ever before. Germany, Spain and Poland, among others, made the most progress in ramping up solar systems.
In contrast, the EU produced 420 terawatt hours of electricity from wind in 2022 – 33 more than in 2021. “The increase in wind energy was driven by significant increases in Germany as well as in Sweden and Poland,” says the analysis.
“The crisis has undoubtedly accelerated the power transition in Europe,” commented Ember’s data expert Dave Jones. The energy transition is emerging stronger from the energy crisis.