68% of Europe's New Electricity Came From Wind & Solar Power Last Year

It's that time of year when renewable energy stats for the previous year are released in abundance, the latest coming from the European Wind Energy Association. These show that 21% of new electrical capacity in Europe came from wind power in 2011—only a percentage point less than newly installed natural gas-fired plants. Combine that with, as Think Progress points out, 47% of new electricity coming from solar power and you get to the headline above.

Breaking down those stats, in 2011 9.6 gigawatts of wind power was installed, taking wind power up to 10% of all electrical capacity in the European Union. For solar PV, an additional 21 GW was brought online, increasing the percentage to 5% of all electrical capacity.

Other renewable energy sources, concentrating solar power, biomass, hydro power, geothermal added under 1% to just over 1% each. 5% of Europe's new electricity came from coal, 2% from oil, and 1% from nuclear.

Here's how the EU's electricity mix was divided at the end of 2011: Coal 26%, Natural Gas 23%, Nuclear Power 14%, Large-scale hydropower 14%, Wind Power 10%, Oil 6%, Solar PV 5%. Biomass, small-scale hydro, concentrating solar power, waste power, and wave power made up the remainder, with percentages of up to 1% each.

68% of Europe's New Electricity Came From Wind & Solar Power Last Year
That's an impressive stat for renewable energy growth, but it's balanced out by the fact that wind and solar power combined still remain 15% of the EU's overall electrical capacity.

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