Fossil fuels produced less than a quarter of the EU’s electricity for the first time in April 2024, according to data from energy think tank Ember, with 23% produced from fossil fuels, surpassing the previous low of 27% in May 2023.

According to Ember’s European Electricity Review, fossil fuels produced less than a third of the EU’s electricity (33%) for the first time in 2023, while solar and wind reached a record 27%.

The ongoing trend of increasing solar and wind uptake has continued this year. In April 2024, wind and solar generated more than a third (34%) of EU electricity for the first time, beating the previous record of 31% in May 2023. Overall, renewables accounted for more than half of the EU’s electricity mix in April.

Meanwhile, generation from fossil fuels dropped by 24% in April 2024 compared with April 2023. Coal-fired power generation contributed just 8.6% to the electricity mix and fell 30% compared with the same month in the previous year. Gas generation saw a 22% year-on-year decline, accounting for 12.1% of the mix.

Germany saw the largest fall in fossil generation out of the EU countries compared with last year, with a 26% drop, representing 32% of the total EU decrease. Italy saw the second-largest decline, contributing another 15% to the regional fall.

Sarah Brown, Ember’s Europe programme director, said: “The once unthinkable is happening before our eyes. Fossil fuels are on the way out of Europe’s power sector. Solar and wind have stepped up as the main players, proving they are ready to take on their role as the backbone of the modern clean electricity system.”

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Speaking to Power Technology at the 26th World Energy Congress in Rotterdam last month, Andy Brogan, EY global energy lead, said that Europe was largely on track with its coal-fired power phase-out.

“Despite the recent disruption, because of issues with gas supplies, etc, I do not see anything that changes the coal-fired power phase-out trajectory. I mean, it might take a few years longer to phase out, but the end point and destination is not in doubt,” he said.