According to a report released on Wednesday by the think tank Ember, the EU and the UK saw declines in coal and gas power of 19% and 16%, respectively, in 2023.
"The cleanest power sectors ever in the EU and the UK last year signaled the start of a new era of energy transition in Europe," said Sarah Brown, head of Ember's Europe initiative.
"Fossil fuels are playing a smaller role than ever as a system with wind and solar as its backbone comes into view."
Renewable energy now accounts for a record 44% of the EU's electricity. In 2023, wind power surpassed gas power for the first time, producing 18% more electricity than gas (17%).
A third of the total, or 33%, came from solar and wind power, up from 29% in 2022. The UK also announced record clean electricity generation.
Though the UK has made progress, there are still issues to be resolved. In September, for example, the offshore wind auction did not draw any bids, endangering the UK's goal of obtaining 50 GW of offshore wind power by 2030.
Many variables, including a decrease in the demand for electricity and an increase in wind and solar power in the previous year, led to this transition towards sustainable energy.
She went on to say that recent occurrences were crucial. "We saw an acceleration in the wanting to move towards clean power renewables as a result of Russia's invasion of Ukraine," she stated.
"When we saw really high skyrocketing petrol prices and the energy crisis that ensued as a result of that, then we saw that extra urgency applied to that transition that we needed anyway."
ignificant progress was made in the clean transition in 2023, but the study highlights that further increases in renewable energy will be necessary to meet the growing demand for power and the anticipated development in electrification across all sectors in the near future, if climate objectives are to be realised.
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