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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

European Union power generation from renewables exceeded fossil fuel-based electricity for the first time in the first half of 2020, per new analysis Wednesday from the U.K.-based climate think tank Ember.

Why it matters: It appears to be an inflection point. Ember electricity analyst Dave Jones tells Axios that he does not expect fossil generation to regain a bigger share than renewables.

  • Only "exceptional circumstances" could temporarily change this, he says, such as a major shutdown of a French nuclear plant that leads to more fossil generation to compensate, or a very dry period that slashes hydropower.

Where it stands: Renewables accounted for 40% of EU generation in the past half-year, while coal's steep decline led to fossil fuels having a 34% share, Ember said.

  • Renewables output increased and wind and solar together reached 21% of European generation. Power from fossil fuels fell by 18%.
  • "Fossil was squeezed on two fronts: by rising renewable generation and a 7% fall in electricity demand due to COVID-19. Coal took the brunt, falling by 32%."
  • Carbon emissions from power generation fell by 23%.

The big picture: A Reuters piece explores a broader global transition underway, even though fossil fuels have by far the largest worldwide power share.

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Oct 26, 2020 - Economy & Business

Private equity shifts its attention to renewable energy

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Private equity is watching the consolidation of the North American oil and gas sector from the sidelines, instead focusing its energy efforts on renewables.

Driving the news: Cenovus Energy on Sunday agreed to buy Husky Energy for $2.9 billion in stock, in a deal that would create Canada’s third-largest oil and gas producer.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Oct 26, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Japan's big new climate goal

Climate protest in Tokyo in November 2019. Photo: Carl Court/Getty Images

Japan's new prime minister said on Monday the nation will seek to become carbon neutral by 2050, a move that will require huge changes in its fossil fuel-heavy energy mix in order to succeed.

Why it matters: Japan is the world's fifth-largest source of carbon emissions. The new goal announced by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is stronger than the country's previous target of becoming carbon neutral as early as possible in the latter half of the century.

Jan. 6 panel subpoenas 2 far-right "America First" activists

The House panel investigating the Capitol riot, from left; Reps. Bennie Thompson, Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger and Jamie Raskin on Capitol Hill in December. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The House select committee investigating the Capitol riot issued subpoenas Wednesday for far-right leaders Nick Fuentes and Patrick Casey, who allegedly encouraged followers to go to D.C. and challenge the 2020 election results.

Why it matters: The action underscores the panel's increasing focus on rallies held ahead of the Capitol attack and how extremists were drawn to former President Trump's baseless claims of widespread voter fraud, per the New York Times.