Europe’s zero-carbon generation broke records in the third quarter, cutting fuel bills during the gas crisis

Power generation from zero-carbon sources avoided a gas bill of €33 billion across the European Union (EU) in the first three months of the gas shortage (July-September), as well as €2.3 (£2.0) billion in Great Britain, according to our new analysis.

The share of zero-carbon generation in the region reached an all-time high of 66% in the third quarter of the year, helping keep the lights on and cut fossil fuel import bills.

Combined wind&solar output was equivalent to 28 GW worth of firm capacity in the EU. Notably, wind&solar generation during this time was higher than the average wind&solar output in 2016-20. Great Britain is the notable exception to this, as wind&solar generation was 11% less than the average 2016-20 output over the same period, but wind&solar still provided 3.2 GW of firm capacity.

Renewable energy and nuclear provided approximately 25% of electricity generation in the EU and Great Britain in the third quarter, avoiding additional spending on high-cost fossil fuels.

With power prices in Europe and the UK skyrocketing as a result of rallying commodity and carbon prices and rebounding power demand compounding with low fuel reserves in Europe, wind&solar were doing their job in contributing to peak loads in July to September. In fact, the share of fossil fuel output was the lowest since 2016 but the record-setting commodity prices that would need to be paid to meet demand with these sources set the price of power across the continent.

The methodology used in this analysis builds on the joint CREA and TransitionZero report “Europe – Ripe for Closure: Accelerating the energy transition and saving money by reducing excess fossil fuel capacity”.

Read the Briefing here, and download the dataset.