Uneven progress towards clean electricity
Coal is in decline across much of Europe, with 55% of electricity now coming from clean power, including 19% from nuclear, 15% from hydro, and 16% from fast growing wind and solar.
Europe is responsible for 12% of global power sector emissions, down from 24% two decades ago, with the largest polluters Russia, Germany, Poland, Italy and the UK responsible for two thirds of that.
Europe has made uneven progress decarbonising electricity recently. Electricity generated from coal has fallen 25% since 2015, mostly replaced by wind and solar. However, this transition has been primarily driven by Western Europe, with progress in Eastern and south eastern Europe generally much more limited so far. Overall, fossil fuels still account for 45% of electricity production.
The global gas price crisis and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine rapidly changed the landscape of Europe’s energy transition. Some governments have now signalled a swift transition away from both coal and gas, and markets for clean technologies are expanding rapidly. However, Europe must achieve a fully decarbonised power system by the mid 2030s for a pathway that keeps 1.5C in reach, according to the IEA Net Zero roadmap and an assessment of the latest climate models used by the IPCC. The UK and Germany are already aiming for completely decarbonised power by 2035, but a unified signal from Europe and the EU is lacking.
Last updated: May 2023