Renewable Energy Generated a Record 30% of the World’s Electricity in 2023

Renewable energy accounted for a record 30% share of electricity generation globally last year, driven by growth in solar and wind power, clean energy think tank Ember said in a report on Wednesday.

“With record construction of solar and wind in 2023, a new era of falling fossil generation is imminent,” Ember said.

Renewable energy growth in 2023 would have been enough to push global power sector emissions down, were it not for a rise in coal-fired generation due to shortages in hydropower because of drought conditions in many large economies, Ember said.

The latest emissions report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) showed earlier this year that despite a decline in fossil fuel use in developed economies, global energy-related emissions rose in 2023 to another record-high level as coal use rose in major developing markets hit by low hydropower generation.

Ember, however, struck today an optimistic note about emissions falling from now on, saying that “the latest forecasts give confidence that 2024 will begin a new era of falling fossil generation, marking 2023 as the likely peak of power sector emissions.”

“The renewables future has arrived. Solar in particular is accelerating faster than anyone thought possible,” said Dave Jones, Global Insights Programme Director at Ember.

“The decline of power sector emissions is now inevitable.”

Despite a nearly 50% surge in renewable capacity installations last year, led by solar photovoltaics and a jump in new Chinese installations, the COP28 goal of tripling renewables to 2030 is still out of reach as installations need to surge further to give the world a chance to reach the Paris Agreement targets.

Despite record investments in renewables, the current funding for clean energy deployment is insufficient for the world to reach the 1.5 degrees Celsius pathway under the Paris Agreement, renewable energy think tank REN21 said in an annual report last month.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for

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