Renewables Gain Ground Over Coal in Europe

According to the estimated data for the year 2017 that have been published today, renewable energy sources generated more electricity than coal for the first time. The sum of wind, solar and biomass generation provided 679 terawatts per hour compared to 669 terawatts per hour.

Even though It might seem like a small victory, we mustn’forget that five years ago, coal doubled the production of renewables on the continent. Something is changing in Europe and, despite all the problems, it seems that the future is less black and greener than five years ago.

Although CO2 emissions increased slightly between 2016 and 2017, this change gives us a global overview of the structural changes that are taking place in Europe. Yes, countries like Poland or the Czech Republic continue to consume coal as if there were no tomorrow. But during the past year, countries such as the Netherlands, Italy and Portugal initiated active policies to eliminate the energy produced by coal in the coming years.

For its part, Spain increased its coal consumption during 2017. This is, in part, a short-term problem associated with drought and lack of wind. But it is also true that the Government does not seem to be willing to change it. The same Álvaro Nadal, energy minister, has already expressed his rejection of the closure of coal plants a few months ago.

Of course, the growth of renewables is quite irregular. Germany and the United Kingdom account for 56% percent of the renewable enery growth in the last three years (whose emissions, it is worth remembering, collapsed to levels of 120 years ago).