Data from Electricity Maps and the IEA has been used to map Europe’s biggest sources of electricity by country.
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Since last year, practically every country in Europe has come to depend on reliable energy and electrical supplies as the region moves away from its reliance on Russian fuel imports.
Although several nations have made strides in their energy transition away from fossil fuels, nearly half of the European nations still rely on them as their main means of producing electricity.
A breakdown of the EU’s overall power generation by source in 2021 is shown in the figure below, which maps out European countries according to their primary sources of electricity generation using data from Electricity Maps and the IEA.
Europe’s Electricity Generation by Energy Source
Over the past ten years, Europe has made significant progress in its transition to the production of power from renewable sources.
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Oil, natural gas, and coal accounted for 49% of the EU’s electricity output in 2011, compared to only 18% from renewable sources. Ten years later, renewable energy sources are almost on par with fossil fuels, accounting for 32% of the EU’s electricity generation in 2021 compared to 36% from fossil fuels.
The main forces behind this transition to renewable energy have been the growth of wind and solar generation, which will account for 19% of the EU’s electricity in 2021 from only 8% in 2011. When compared to other regions of the world, the EU’s share of wind and solar electricity generation is tied for first with Oceania, despite the fact that it may still seem small.
The most prevalent primary form of electricity generation in Europe is hydropower, which, despite having a smaller percentage than other sources, is a key source of renewable energy.
Despite its decline over the past few decades, nuclear energy remains the largest single source of electricity generation in the EU and throughout Europe. In 2001, nuclear energy accounted for one-third (33%) of the EU’s electrical generation, but during the next 20 years, that percentage decreased to 25%.
The Primary Electricity Sources of Europe’s Major Nations
When examining individual countries, the bulk of the biggest nations in Europe use fossil fuels as their main source of electricity.
Germany continues to rely significantly on coal, which produced 31% of the country’s electricity from 2017 to 2021. Despite the country’s reliance on fossil fuels with the highest carbon content, wind and solar energy combined accounted for 33% of Germany’s electricity production (23% for wind and 10% for solar).
The nuclear industry accounts for more than half of France’s electricity generation, making it the largest nuclear-dependent economy in Europe.
Between 2017 and 2021, natural gas will be the main fuel for electricity generation in Italy, the UK, and the Netherlands. With 42% of its electricity coming from natural gas, Italy is the most dependent of the three, although the Netherlands (40%) and the UK (38%) aren’t far behind.
Spain is a success story in the shift to renewable energy sources and an outlier among the major European countries. While the country relied heavily on natural gas from 2017 to 2021 (29%), in 2022 wind overtook natural gas to become the main source of power, accounting for 32% of total electricity production.
Accelerating the EU’s Energy Transition
Energy independence in the EU has increased in importance as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and nations have seized the chance to quicken the switch to renewable energy sources.
In 2022, the shift advanced significantly, according to a new report from Ember (pdf below), and for the first time ever, solar and wind power (22%) surpassed natural gas (20%) in the production of electricity.
Last year the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism which is the world’s biggest carbon border tax was announced by the EU, but it still needs formal approval from the European Council and Parliament.
While the EU’s production of power from fossil fuels increased in 2022, Ember anticipates a 20% reduction in that same production in 2023. This map of the main energy sources for power generation may soon include a lot more renewable and low-carbon energy sources if the EU can maintain this accelerated shift away from fossil fuels.
Read the report given below: