Renewables overtaking coal for the first time


A recent study on the decarbonisation of the European electricity system has shown that in 2017 electricity production from renewables (excluding hydroelectric energy) has overtaken coal production for the first time. Yet, while central and Western Europe has embarked on the necessary transition, Eastern European countries are putting a brake on it.

In 2017, for the first time in Europe, electricity production from renewable sources (excluding the hydroelectric sector) has exceeded energy production from coal. This is the first finding emerged from the study entitled «The European Power Sector in 2017», which was presented in Brussels on 30th January 2018, drafted by the German Agora Energiewende and the British Sandbag, i.e. two think-tanks dealing with energy transition issues.

The study highlights how wind and solar energy, as well as energy produced from biomasses, has considerably increased by 12% in 2017 up to 679 TWh, i.e. a figure higher than the one obtained coal and gas. 5 years ago alone, the percentage of energy produced from coal was twice as much compared to the three technologies above together.

Yet, it is worth noticing that most of this performance is to be attributed to Germany and Great Britain, with the two countries together making up for 56% of the increase in clean energy in the last three years, thereby highlighting the lack of uniformity in the scenario of the current decarbonisation of the European electricity system.