The war in Ukraine has only caused headaches for Europe. But not for your renewables

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“More renewables, less inflation”. The experts of the Ember and E3G firms they just addressed to Brussels like this, in a clear way, to remind it that the commitment to green energy is allowing the 27 countries of the European Union to save billions of cubic meters of gas and avoid an even greater escalation of inflation. your calculations They also leave another interesting conclusion: the record weight that photovoltaic and wind power have achieved over the last few months.

They are data in the past that the thinktank fencing for the future.

A record in wind and solar. Ember and E3G’s calculations are clear: since March, coinciding with the war in Ukraine, wind and solar generated a record 24% of the EU electricity mix. The technicians calculated the data between March and September and obtained 345 terawatt-hours (TWh) —192 from wind and 153 from solar—, which represents a year-on-year increase of 39 TWh. The study also recalls that the hydroelectric plant was affected during the summer by the drought, with a reduction of 21%, with which the weight of renewables could have been even greater.

Radiography by country. The tables further show that 19 EU countries achieved record wind and solar power. The list includes France (14%), Italy (20%), Poland (17%) and Spain, which stands out with 35%. Among all, the authors of the report highlight in fact the case of Spain, which registered “the largest absolute increase in generation with 7.4 TWh”.

The data is in tune with those that have been unraveling in recent months. In April Ember already estimated that Spain had covered for the first time 40% of its electricity generation with wind and solar. In July Red Eléctrica indicated that solar had reached a record in production.

Beyond percentages. The report it doesn’t return just percentages and Twh. Those responsible have wanted to go further and remind Brussels of the savings that renewables are favoring in the midst of the energy crisis. In a scenario marked by the effects of the war on Russian gas supply —a source that in 2020 contributed nearly 40% of EU imports—, experts calculate that solar and wind energy have allowed the bloc to save millions of euros in gas.

How many? The think tank points out that both renewables spared the EU the need for an additional 8 billion cubic meters of gas, a considerable amount that it values ​​at a cost of approximately 11 billion euros. “Total renewable energy capacity saved the EU €99 billion in avoided gas imports, a record increase of €11 billion compared to 2021,” underline the dossier prepared by Ember and E3G: “Spain recorded the largest absolute increase in generation with 7.4 TWh. The production of this electricity in Spain with gas would have required an amount that costs approximately 1,700 million euros.

A fact with a clear effect. The report does not provide only a cost estimate. It goes further and points out its influence on the evolution of prices and the pockets of families and companies. “The study shows that past policy choices that increased the EU’s dependence on gas and curbed energy efficiency and renewable ambition are the main drivers of Europe’s record inflation now —fencing—. Wind and solar capacity prevented considerable gas imports at high cost and even higher inflation and a deeper crisis.

The report emphasizes that the dependence on Russian gas and the restrictions on supply have led to “serious consequences for energy prices on the continent.” “The exposure of the European Union to these high-cost fossil fuels is what contributes the most to the inflationary crisis,” settles the report, which recalls that in September the price of energy was 40.8% higher than a year before, “contributing to 36% of the high overall inflation figures in the EU”.

Mar Sep Waterfall Euro

message for the future. The conclusion for the authors of the report is clear and points to the future. “Wind and solar energy are already helping European citizens; but the future potential is even greater”, states the report, which stresses that RePowerEU, a plan that seeks precisely to reduce dependence on Russian fossil fuels, “has the potential to reduce Europe’s exposure to expensive gas imports significantly and rapidly, strengthening its energy and price security.” For this reason, the support of the states and the European Parliament is urgent.

“With tight liquefied natural gas (LNG) markets keeping gas costs high for years to come, governments must back RePowerEU’s clean energy ambition, making it a core element of the response to the energy price crisis. ”, ditch Artur Patuleiasenior associate focused on energy system transitions at E3G.

Cover image: Andreas Gucklhorn (Unsplash)

“More renewables, less inflation”. The experts of the Ember and E3G firms they just addressed to Brussels like this, in…

“More renewables, less inflation”. The experts of the Ember and E3G firms they just addressed to Brussels like this, in…

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