“A turning point”: More than 30% of the world’s energy now comes from renewables, according to a report

According to the report’s authors, the decline of energy from fossil fuels is now “inevitable.”

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According to a new report, more than 30% of the world energy is generated from renewable sources and the European Union is well ahead of the world average.

Energy think tank Ember has found that the huge growth in energy wind and solar will help global electricity production surpass this milestone in 2023.

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A crucial turning point

The report covers 80 countries representing 92% of global energy demand and historical data from 215 other countries. Its authors claim that this rapid growth has brought the world to a crucial tipping point where fossil fuel generation begins to decline.

Clean energy sources have already helped slow the growth of fossil fuels by almost two-thirds in the last 10 years.

“The future of renewable energy has arrived“said Dave Jones, director of global insights at Ember. “The solarin particular, is accelerating faster than anyone thought possible.”

Solar energy was the world’s leading electricity supplier last year, providing twice as much new energy as coal. It remained the fastest growing energy source for the 19th consecutive year.

How is the EU ahead of the world average?

The EU is well ahead of the world average: 44% of its energy comes from renewable sources. The expansion of solar and wind energy is much faster than in the rest of the world, and the block will contribute 17% of global growth in 2023.

According to the report, Greece It is the second country in the world with higher proportion of solar energy in its ‘energy mix’, with 19%, followed by Hungary (18%) and the Netherlands (17%). Chile occupies first place, with almost 20%.

Sarah Brown, director of Ember’s European program, says the EU is leading the way thanks to “early adoption and action.” The European Green Deal It has been decisive in setting objectives, creating policies and guaranteeing investments, he adds.

“It is obvious that the early adoption of measures has contributed to the decarbonization of the electricity sector, and The best way to achieve this is through wind and solar energy“explains Brown.

“There is also the invasion of Ukraine, which increased the sense of urgency around the transition to clean energy and to stop depend on fossil fuels, not only coal, but also gas, and in particular from Russia. “It was a great boost to accelerate the transition across the EU.”

Then in 2022, REPowerEU saw packages to promote the implementation of wind energy and the solar. Plans were put in place to help individual Member States achieve renewable energy targets and deploy technologies at national level.

There was a decrease in energy demand due to the energy crisis, the cost of living crisis and the benign climate of recent years. There was also much talk that coal would fill the gap when that demand increased again with increasing electrification.

But Brown says that toward the end of last year and the beginning of this year, demand has plateaued and stabilized. “It cannot be ignored that the decrease in the use of fossil fuels has influenced demand, but also that wind and solar have played an important role.

Overall, he says, the EU is “very well on track” towards its goal of renewable sources accounting for 72% of electricity generation by 2030.

Has energy from fossil fuels peaked?

According to the Ember report, global renewable energy growth could have been even greater in 2023 if not for the five-year decline in generation hydroelectric. This was due to drought in China and other parts of the world.

Normally, this would have meant that the clean energy capacity added worldwide last year would have seen fossil fuel generation fall by 1.1%. Instead, there was an increase in coal energywhich caused a 1% increase in emissions from the global energy sector.

Four countries seriously affected by drought –China, India, Vietnam and Mexico– were responsible for 95% of the increase in coal generation.

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Despite this, the report’s authors state that the projected growth of clean energy makes them confident that a new era of declining emissions from the electricity sector is about to begin.

They predict a 2% decline in fossil fuel generation this year, with half of the world’s economies already at least five years above peak fossil energy.

“The fall in emissions from the electricity sector is inevitable”

“The decline in emissions from the electricity sector is now inevitable,” says Jones. “He 2023 was probably the turning point -peak emissions in the electricity sector-, an important turning point in the history of energy. But the pace of emissions decline depends on how quickly the renewables revolution continues.”

For this momentum to continue, key drivers such as the EU, with its high-level political ambition, incentive mechanisms and flexibility solutions, need to continue.”unleashing the full potential of solar and wind energy“, Add.

 
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