Electricity industry association Eurelectric has released figures showing that 50% of public electricity generation in the European Union came from renewables for the first time in the first half of 2024, reports online news agency Clean Energy Wire. Eurelectric said Europe was decarbonising at an unprecedented pace, with 74 % of power coming from ‘renewable and low-carbon energy sources’, including nuclear power, marking ‘a significant increase’ over the 68 % share in 2023.

“The pace of change is impressive. These figures document that the decarbonisation efforts of electricity companies are years ahead of any other sector,” said the Association’s secretary general Kristian Ruby. However, said Eurelectric, data on electricity demand was less encouraging: owing to “industry relocating abroad, warmer temperatures, energy savings and slow economic growth, “power demand in the EU in the first half year 2023 decreased by 3.4 % compared to same period in 2022 and has continued to remain low in the first half 2024, at 2.6 % less than two years earlier”. Mr Ruby stressed that a lower demand for electricity should not suggest that the EU can neglect investments in the sector.

Germany reaches 58% renewables

In Germany, renewables covered 58 % of gross electricity consumption in the first six months of the year, according to preliminary figures by the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW) and the Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW). In a press release, ZSW Managing Director Frithjof Staiss said the record figures showed that an “efficient, reliable, secure and greenhouse gas-neutral power supply” was achievable by 2035, adding that Germany and Europe should produce more of the required technologies at home. BDEW chair Kerstin Andreae also called for Germany to remove hurdles to the development of power storage and grid infrastructure.

Moreover, 65 % of all electricity fed into the German grid (that is, public net electricity generation) in the first six months of 2024 came from renewable energy sources, preliminary figures from the Fraunhofer Institute show. This is higher than the BDEW and ZSW’s numbers as it only accounts for consumer supply and does not include power directly generated for industry, which still relies on oil and gas to a great extent. The Fraunhofer Institute’s figures show fossil-fuel generation falling 15 %. Generation from lignite fell by 25 % – yet it remains the country’s second largest power source after wind, at 21 %. Wind accounted for 34 % of Germany’s public net electricity generation, with 15 % coming from solar installations, the Fraunhoer Institute said.

Germany is aiming for 80 percent renewable power in its gross electricity consumption by 2030, with wind considered the most important source.