The EU would have faced a €135bn ($144bn) extra gas bill following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine without its fast-growing wind and solar power fleet, claimed analysts at Ember as they said the two renewables sources overtook gas power for the first time in the bloc's generation mix.
Turbines and solar modules accounted for a record 23% share of EU electricity generation in the year since the invasion, for the first time outstripping fossil gas with 19%, the energy think-tank said.
With gas generation costs hitting peaks of €650/MWh or more, without the 546TWh of wind and solar produced in the EU27 the bloc would, based on average day-ahead prices, have needed an extra €135bn of the polluting fossil fuel to fill the power hole, Ember reckons.
The addition of 50TWh extra wind and PV generation since the war stared avoided €12bn of gas costs alone, it added.
Ember senior analyst Sarah Brown said: “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine shocked Europe into action. Suddenly, gaping vulnerabilities due to fossil fuel dependence became a stark reality. The last year has been a scramble to address these risks through an accelerated transition to a cleaner, more secure power system.
“At the year marker of Russia’s devastating war in Ukraine, it remains critical that the EU rapidly expands solar and wind to attain permanent energy independence."