CREA data on EU gas storage and the role of photovoltaics and wind
(sustainabilityenvironment.com) – Whether we spent the last winter in the heat, without interruptions in gas supplies, and we are well placed to prepare for the next, also depends on the substantial contribution of renewables. Between January 2022 and March 2023, electricity generation from solar and wind in Europe has allowed to increase storage by 14%. EU gas stockpiles have never been so full and the farewell to Russian gas is progressing without too much shaking.
Save 14 bcm in EU gas storage
According to data published by CREA, in 2022 alone, the increase in solar and wind generation saved 14 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas, or 12% of the total capacity of underground EU gas storage in that year.
Thanks to this performance of European renewables, the twenty-seven presented themselves with a filling level of 95%, much higher than the safety threshold established at EU level. Renewables, on the whole, generated 625 TWh in 2022, 22% of the European total, surpassing fossils still at 20%.
Performance continues into 2023. In the first quarter, wind and solar generated 32% more electricity than gas. Wind alone has a share of 141 TWh, greater than gas (119 TWh). And even separating the lower consumption due to temperatures above normal during the winter, the contribution of renewables is significant. At the end of the thermal season, the EU gas stockpiles were full at 57%, while without sun and wind they would have been to 43%
Putin’s blackmail evaporates
The performance of European renewables can also be appreciated with the meter of dependence on Russia. Dependence that is in decline and not only for the diversification of sources undertaken by EU countries. This means less revenue for the Kremlin. In 2022, according to CREA data, despite its efforts, Europe poured 57 billion euros into Moscow for pipeline gas and 18 billion for pipeline gas. In the first quarter of 2023 the figures show a vertical collapse: just 5.1 billion euros in all. At this rate, Moscow’s revenue at the end of the year will be 4 times less than 2022.