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European Electricity Review 2024: 44% renewables in the EU electricity mix

Aenert news. Energy Market & Energy Statistics
The European Electricity Review 2024 (CC BY-SA 4.0) by EMBER presents data on electricity generation and demand for 2023 to explore the transition from fossil fuels to clean electricity in the EU.
Overall, 2023 saw record reductions in coal and gas use as well as CO2 emissions. The share of fossil fuels fell by a record 209 TWh to its lowest level ever – 19% of EU electricity generation while the share of renewables rose to a record 44%, clearly demonstrating the region's progress in transition.
Wind and solar power together generated a record 27% of the EU's electricity in 2023 increasing by a record 90 TWh and continuing to drive growth in the share of renewables.

As can be seen in the graph below, wind generation overtook gas generation for the first time, showing a record annual increase in electricity generation of 55 TWh (+13%). The amount of electricity generated by wind was 475 TWh (18%) compared to 452 TWh generated by gas. Gas generation fell for the fourth consecutive year.

The highest wind power generation was recorded in 2023 in Germany with 141 TWh, followed by Spain (64 TWh), France (49 TWh) and Sweden (35 TWh). Looking at the share of wind energy in total production, Denmark was the absolute leader (58%), far ahead of Ireland (36%) and Portugal (29%). Sweden produced the most wind energy per capita, slightly ahead of Denmark and Finland.

Although solar generation grew by 17%, but compared to the exceptional year 2022, this growth fell by 25% from 48 TWh to 36 TWh. Overall, about 9% (246 TWh) of the EU’s electricity in 2023 was generated by solar. Looking at countries’ performance, Germany was the largest solar power producer in the EU representing with its 62 TWh a quarter of EU solar generation, followed by Spain (45 TWh), Italy (31 TWh) and France (23 TWh). The leader in terms of the largest share of solar energy in the electricity consumption structure was Greece with 19%, ahead of Hungary with 18% and Spain with 17%. Netherlands in its turn had the highest solar generation per capita in 2023.

The year 2023 was marked, on the one hand, by Germany completing its nuclear phase-out by shutting down the last reactors in April 2023, and on the other hand, by the recovery of French nuclear generation, bringing EU nuclear generation to a slight 1.5% recovery in 2023 compared to a 30-year low in 2022.

Hydropower accounted for 12% (317 TWh) of EU electricity in 2023, led by Sweden, France and Austria. Bioenergy produced 5.7% (153 TWh) of the EU's electricity, with Germany topping the list.

In general, the structure of the EU electricity sector in 2023 was as follows: nuclear power – 23%, wind – 18%, gas – 17%, coal – 12%, hydropower – 12%, solar – 9.1%, bioenergy and other renewable sources – 5.7%.

Along with a 3.4% drop in electricity demand, another trend in 2023 was a record reduction in energy sector emissions, which fell by a record 19% (-157 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent). This surpassed the previous maximum annual reduction of 13% in 2020 associated with the Covid-19 pandemic. Much of the reduction was due to wind and solar power, with lower electricity demand also playing a role.

By the Editorial Board