The Great Diversity Behind Europe’s Electricity Generation

Published on 11.22.2019
High School
Economic and social sciences

10 min read

can be generated from fossil fuels (mainly and gas), or renewable sources such as hydro, wind, solar, , and waste. The combination of these resources makes up the mix, also known as the generation mix. Here are two tables to illustrate the choices made in Europe.

Image of an illuminated metropolis, illustrating the growing role of electricity in the modern world.

Stable Electricity Generation in Europe

Electricity generation in Europe has been relatively stable for 15 years or so, and even decreased over certain periods.

In 2014, Europe generated the same amount of electricity as it did in 2000, and has only moderately increased its output since then. The reasons behind this are efforts to improve , but also the financial crisis in the late 2000s, offshoring, and milder weather conditions, which have reduced heating needs.

Below is the European Union’s gross electricity generation since 19951:
Table of gross electricity generation in the European Union since 1995

 

The last few years, since 2015, have shown a slow but steady resumption of the increase.

 

The Variety of Electricity Mixes in Europe

Nearly half of the electricity in the European Union is generated from fossil fuels (mainly coal and gas). The rest is produced, in more or less equal proportions currently, by nuclear – although this is being used less and less – and renewable sources, such as hydropower, which are on the rise. The table below shows the electricity mixes of six countries2:

Table of the electricity mixes of six European countries in 2016

 

The table shows that nuclear accounts for a significant proportion of the electricity mix in France and Sweden, as do fossil fuels in Germany (coal and gas) and Poland (chiefly coal). Italy has considerably increased its use of solar power.

 

  1. Source: E.U. 
  2. Eurostat

 

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