Europe to Be Coal-Free Soon? Wind Power Overtook Fossil Fuel as Energy Source in 2016

Feb 22, 2017 09:07 AM EST

Wind energy overtook coal as Europe's second-largest source of power in 2016. However, there are still concerns over the growing emphasis on the usage of renewable energy.

Europe's Slow Rejection of Fossil Fuels

According to a report from the Guardian, Europe is a growing model when it comes to renewable energy dependency. Its rejection of coal in recent years has made room for renewable energy to enter the fray.

Now, renewable energy sources have made up a majority of the region's electricity grid in 2016 alone, and projections are still growing. Reports revealed that of the 24.5 GW of the region's renewable energy consumption, 21.GW (86 percent) was from wind energy while the remaining came from solar, hydropower and biomass.

According to Reuters, this is the first time wind power actually took up more than half of Europe's energy capacity. However, this also comes with concerns. Some believe that after the European Union's renewable targets end by 2020, the interest about it will die down.

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Currently, Europe's wind power capacity of 153.7GW is still small when compared to the region's total power usage of 918.8GW. But this could still increase as the U.K. is committed to lowering its fossil fuel dependency by the year 2025.

Renewable Power Use in Other Countries

Other countries are also following suit. Germany, France, the Netherlands, Finland, Ireland and Lithuania have all started a shift to wind power. Spain, Greece, Italy and Portugal are also driving towards the development of wind power before.

But some countries are not that open to embracing wind energy yet. The Guardian notes that Poland, for instance, passed a law that limited certain technicalities on the structures of turbines. This has put a pause on the development of wind power -- and renewables in general -- and have resulted in smaller numbers of installation in 2016.

These new policies and the impact of both the renewed vigor and criticisms towards renewables can determine the future of renewables in Europe.

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