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Fossil fuels generated just 23% of the EU’s electricity in April — a new low

Wind turbines at sunset
Picture: Pixabay

The share of fossil fuels in the EU’s electricity mix fell to a historic monthly low of just 23% in April 2024, according to data collated by Ember.

Amid a surge in wind and solar capacity additions and a recovery in hydro output, coal’s share of the mix slumped to a new low of 8.6%, while gas was reduced to 12.1%.

Germany, which shut seven coal power plant units at the end of March, saw the largest absolute decline in fossil fuel output, according to Ember’s data. The country’s coal and gas plants delivered 26% less power than in April 2023. Italy also contributed significantly to the shift, with fossil fuel generation down 24% from a year before.

Meanwhile, renewables accounted for 54% of the EU’s electrical output in April — up from 45.5% a year before. Nuclear power plants produced 22.5% of the bloc’s electricity, a marginal year-on-year decrease.

“The records set in April are the latest evidence of a long-term trend of increasing clean generation and falling emissions in the EU,” Ember said in a statement. 

Over the first four months of 2024, the EU’s fossil fuel generation was down 18% versus the same period a year before. The decline came despite a recovery in electricity demand, which is being pushed higher by the adoption of electric vehicles, heat pumps, and other technologies.

“This strong start to 2024 is further evidence that the European Union’s electricity transition is in full swing,” Ember said.

Portugal has had a particularly clean streak, with renewables meeting 91% of its electricity needs in the first four months of the year. Moreover, the country has consistently had the lowest wholesale electricity prices in Europe in recent months.

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