European Electricity Review: The EU’s Electricity Transition

Ember's study analysed the electricity transition across the EU
Ember’s analysis of the EU electricity transition looks at what happened in 2023 and what we can expect in 2024

Europe’s electricity transition is taking crucial strides forward, says a report detailing the progress of the electricity transition across European Union (EU) countries.

Ember’s research, European Electricity Review 2024, analyses full-year electricity generation and demand data for 2023 to understand the region’s progress in transitioning from fossil fuels to clean electricity

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This report, the eighth annual study of the EU power sector, not only gives insights into the state of the electricity transition, but is also put forward for other businesses, organisations and governments, for example, to use the data useful for their own analysis and to further propel the move toward a cleaner energy future

What is the state of the electricity transition in the EU?

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

“The energy crisis and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine did not lead to coal and gas resurgence — far from it. Coal is nearing phase-out and as wind and solar grow, gas will be next to enter terminal decline. However it is not time to get complacent.

Sarah Brown, Europe Programme Director at Ember

“The EU needs a laser focus on rapidly deploying wind, solar and flexibility to create a system free of fossil fuels.”

Findings in the report detailed record falls in EU coal and gas electricity generation in 2023, pushing power sector emissions down 19%, with renewables rising to a record 44% share. Wind and solar were stand-out stars of growth in the renewables sector, with more than a quarter of the EU’s electricity produced this way in 2023.

Coal’s long-term decline continued last year, and is set to this year. This is underpinned by falling electricity demand, which also contributed to the drop in fossil fuel generation. However, with increased electrification, falling demand is not expected to continue – but renewables need to step up to the plate to continue to power the populations’ growing electricity demands.

The report continues by being split into four distinct sections: pathway to clean power, insights — broken down into four key areas — EU electricity trends and EU electricity source trends. 

Highlights from the European Electricity Review

With the report highlighting that the clean transition took significant steps forward in 2023 thanks to focus shifting to the creation of a flexible, efficient decarbonised power system, Ember advocates for the faster implementation of clean solutions as it says it is key to delivering the full benefits of the transition.

Highlights from the European Electricity Review
  • Record fall in both fossil generation and CO2 emissions
  • Record share of renewables in the EU electricity mix, more than 40% for the first time
  • Record annual growth in wind generation pushes it above gas for the first time
  • Record fossil collapse shows the shift to clean power in action
  • Wind and solar are driving renewables growth towards REPowerEU targets
  • After disruption to demand, an increase is on the horizon
  • The EU moves towards a new mode of system flexibility


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