According to a report on energy usage in the first half of 2020, renewable energy is now the European Union’s main source of electricity. This will be welcome news to many as we shift towards a carbon neutral future in the years to come, helping us meet climate change targets.
However, this report does not include the United Kingdom. Although, the report was produced by Ember, a London based think tank.
A number of energy suppliers are reducing their reliance on traditional fossil fuels such as coal and oil. These fuel types accounted for 34 per cent of the EU’s energy consumption in the first half of the year. Furthermore, renewable energy accounted for around 40 per cent. Use of renewable electricity for businesses and homes increased by 11 percent during the same period.
The report stated that: "This was driven by new wind and solar installations and favourable conditions during a mild and windy start to the year."
Ireland had nearly 50 per cent of its energy generated from solar and wind alone. In the first six months of 2020, figures showed it was around 49 per cent.
One of the biggest factors was the coronavirus pandemic. As expected, it had a huge impact on all industries including the energy sector. Fossil fuel usage dropped by 18 per cent in the studied period. The availability of renewable alternatives is a contributing factor. Additionally, during lockdown restrictions, demand for electricity decreased by 7 per cent.
As a consequence of the above, the European Union's carbon dioxide emissions dropped by 23 per cent. Dave Jones, electricity analyst at Ember, said that: "This marks a symbolic moment in the transition of Europe's electricity sector.
“Renewables generated more electricity than fossil fuels, driven by wind and solar replacing coal. That's fast progress from just nine years ago when fossil fuels generated twice as much as renewables."
A Sustainable recovery is a huge positive step in the right direction, as it could save millions of jobs in the energy sector. Energy efficiency is another key area, and the green homes grant scheme should help improve things in this regard.
The coronavirus crisis has meant that leaders across the world have had to rethink how they will rebuild their economies. Sustainable initiatives have been gathering a lot of traction. We will find out in the months and years ahead, what was merely a PR disguise, and who has taken the much-needed bold steps to address the situation in an appropriate manner.