By Paul Davies and Rosa Espin

Last year, 86 % of the 24.5 GW of new generating capacity installed in the EU came from renewable energy sources, specifically from wind, solar, biomass and hydro, breaking the previous record of 79% in 2014. This new water mark makes clear that the EU is seeking to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions by replacing fossil fuel plants with new forms of renewable energy in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change.

For the first time, wind overtake coal in terms of capacity as wind energy was the most installed power generation source in 2016, representing a 51 % of all the new installed power capacity of the EU. Of the new 12.5 GW of wind power, 10.9 GW was installed onshore while 1.6 GW added offshore.

According to figures published by the WindEurope trade group, wind energy grew 8 percent in 2016 reaching 153.7 GW and now accounts for 17% of Europe’s total installed power generation capacity. Only natural gas generation, with 186 GW of capacity, remains above wind.