Wind energy surpasses gas-fired power plants for first time in Europe

Green Forum
In the past year, wind energy production in Europe surpassed that of gas-fired power plants for the first time, marking a significant milestone in the region's transition towards cleaner energy sources, according to a report published by climate and energy-focused think tank Ember.

The European Union's departure from reliance on fossil fuels was highlighted by significant decreases in both coal (-26%) and gas (-15%) generation. Consequently, the EU witnessed its largest recorded decline in power sector emissions (-19%), driven by the growth of wind and solar energy and a decrease in electricity demand. Notably, renewables continued to gain momentum, with wind power generation (18%) surpassing that of gas (17%) for the first time in 2023.

“The EU's power sector is in the middle of a monumental shift,” said Ember's Europe programme director, Sarah Brown. “Fossil fuels are playing a smaller role than ever as a system with wind and solar as its backbone comes into view.”

Electricity production from fossil fuels in Europe saw a record decline of 19% in 2023 compared to 2022, with gas-fired power plants decreasing by 15% and coal electricity production dropping by 26%, as stated in the Ember report. Meanwhile, wind energy production increased by 13% last year, accounting for 18% of Europe's energy mix.

According to the Ember report, the decrease in electricity generation from fossil fuels and the increase in renewable and nuclear energy production led to a 19% decline in carbon emissions from the energy sector. Ember data shows that gas-fired power plants provided nearly 17% of the electricity used in Europe last year, while coal contributed just over 12%.