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Record growth in renewables sources of energy

2023 turned out to be a breakthrough year for renewable energy sources. For the first time, they provided 30% of the world’s electricity. This growth was mainly driven by solar and wind power. This marks the beginning of a new era of declining fossil fuel consumption. In the Global Electricity Review 2024 report, scientists from Ember summarize energy consumption and extraction in 2023.

Wind turbine energy genetrators and solar panels. Clear skies and evening sun.

A record share of renewable energy

Since 2000, the share of renewable energy sources in electricity production has increased from 19% to 30% in 2023. China accounted for the largest contribution, accounting for 51% of global solar power generation and 60% of wind power. Together with nuclear power, almost 40% of the world’s electricity came from low-carbon sources.

Solar dominance and hydroelectric decline

Solar energy has been the fastest-growing source of electricity for 19 years in a row. For the second time in a row, it became the largest source of new electricity. It provided more than twice as much  as coal  in 2023. The record increase in the number of installations at the end of 2023 suggests that the increase in solar energy production will be even greater in 2024. The drought caused hydropower production to fall to the lowest level in 5 years. This has increased the use of coal and resulted in a 1% increase in global emissions in the power sector.

Future predictions

Forecasts for 2024 show continued growth in clean energy, outpacing growth in demand. This should translate into a 2% decline in global fossil fuel consumption. Leaders at the UN’s COP28 climate change conference in December 2023 agreed to triple global renewable energy by 2030. This could cut the emissions of the energy sector in half and bring the world closer to the climate target of 1.5°C. This idea does not allow for the earths temperature to increase by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius in the near future.

Challenges and opportunities

Ambitious policy targets, incentive mechanisms and flexibility in the solutions are key enablers for the further development of renewable energy. The examples of China, Brazil and the Netherlands show that, despite different starting points, the right approach can lead to a rapid transformation of energy systems.

About the report

The Global Electricity Review 2024 report was prepared by Ember. Provides a detailed overview of changes in global electricity production in 2023 based on available data. It outlines key trends and their potential impact on energy sources and emission in the energy sector in the near future. In addition, Ember provides the first free, comprehensive database on global electricity generation in 2023.

The report analyzes data from 215 countries, including the latest data for 2023 from 80 countries. Together, they account for 92% of the world’s electricity demand. It also includes data for 13 geographical and economic groups, such as Africa, Asia, the EU, and the G7. The report also discusses in detail the 6 countries and regions that emit the most CO2. These regions account for over 72% of global emissions from the energy sector. The annex also provides an overview of 25 other polluting countries.

Source: The Ember Report „Global Electricity Review 2024”

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