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Europe's energy mix turns greener as wind surpasses coal

Image: Pexels

Wind has surpassed coal in Europe's energy mix, marking a key shift in the continent's energy transition efforts, data from the climate think tank Ember shows.

The shift occurred during the last quarter of 2023: Europe's utilities generated 193 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity from wind sites during October- December against 184 TWh from coal-fired power plants.

The 193 TWh of wind power generation, itself a record high and roughly a fifth more than power generated in the same quarter of 2022, comes as good news to a sector reeling from financial crunch brought on by supply constraints and rising prices, with some projects turning unviable.

Europe's coal consumption declined as weak industrial activity curbed overall power demand around the same time as utilities brought clean power projects online. 

The continent's three largest coal consumers – Germany, Poland and Turkey – reduced power generation from coal to multi-year lows in the first half of 2023. Coal-fired generation was ramped up over the latter months of 2023, but remained below previous peaks for each of the three countries.

Europe's wind capacity is set to get a further boost in 2024: Germany is planning a tender for 8 GW of new offshore capacity, while Denmark is expected to begin auctions for 9 GW of offshore projects.

France is looking to support the construction of two floating wind farms.

Wind is also particularly important to the UK, which has the world's second largest offshore wind market after China and is home to the world's five largest operational offshore wind farms. 

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