A year of war in Ukraine: renewables in Europe have saved us 12 billion
Ember think tank data on the role of renewables in Europe
In a year of the war, the growth of wind and solar saved Europe spending 12 billion euros in fossil gas. The generation from sun and wind, compared to 24 February 2022, has risen by 50 TWh and last year reached a record 23% in the EU. Data that speak for themselves: renewables in Europe have given a big hand to contain the impact of the crisis.
The role of renewables in Europe
The growth of the generation from panels and turbines has reached 10% year on year, partly thanks to new installations and partly due to favorable weather conditions. In all, in the last 12 months the TWh generated by sun and wind was 546, 50 more than in the same period of 2021-2022. Without this contribution, the crisis would have been much tougher, notes the think tank Ember in a dossier published recently.
“In addition to the race to replace Russian gas, last year nuclear and hydroelectric production suffered significant shortages across the EU due to drought and plant closures. This has created a large production vacuum, which has been filled in large part by wind and solar energy and the decline in demand due to the surge in fossil fuel prices”, note the researchers of Ember. Only the increase in the generation of renewables in Europe mentioned earlier reduced the need for fossil gas by 9 billion cubic meters (bcm).
-60% gas from Russia
Since 24 February a year ago, the EU has imported 330 bcm of gas, of which 54 (16%) from Russia. Total gas imports decreased by only 5% (19 bcm) compared to the same period of the previous year, but Russian imports fell by 60% (82 bcm, more than the entire gas needs of Italy in a year). But it is not yet time to rest on our laurels, the think tank warns.
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“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has shaken Europe. Suddenly, vulnerabilities due to dependence on fossil fuels have become a stark reality. Over the past year, efforts have been made to address these risks by speeding up the transition to a cleaner and safer energy system. A year after Russia’s devastating war in Ukraine, it is crucial that the EU rapidly expands solar and wind energy to achieve permanent energy independence,” remarks Sarah Brown of Ember.