Graph: Renewable energy accounted for an unprecedented 30% of the world’s electricity generation in 2023

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In 2023, renewable energy sources reached a historic milestone by generating 30% of the world's electricity, marking the first time they contributed such a significant portion. This achievement is attributed to the remarkable growth of solar and wind power over the past decade. The surge in clean energy production has significantly slowed the growth of fossil fuels, with the power sector now on track to start reducing emissions. According to Ember's "Global Electricity Review 2024," the power sector, being the largest carbon emitter, needs to achieve complete decarbonization by 2035 in major developed nations and by 2045 elsewhere to meet international emission targets.

World leaders have committed to tripling global renewables capacity by 2030, aiming to achieve 60% renewable electricity by that year and cut power sector emissions by nearly half. While renewables, primarily hydropower, accounted for 19% of global electricity generation in 2000, solar and wind power have experienced rapid growth since then, constituting nearly half of the clean energy total. Solar energy, in particular, has been the fastest-growing source of electricity generation for 19 consecutive years, expanding by 23% in 2023 alone. This growth, coupled with stagnation in hydropower and a global drought affecting water-powered generation, has led to a significant shift towards low-carbon sources, with almost 40% of global electricity now coming from such sources.

Ember's analysis suggests that carbon emissions from the power sector may have peaked in 2023, signifying a crucial milestone in the global energy transition. Despite challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic and trade wars, solar energy has continued its rapid expansion, outpacing fossil fuel generation growth by a significant margin. This progress indicates that the world is making strides towards a cleaner and more sustainable energy future.

Original article posted on May 10, 2024

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