The world is on course for the first annual drop in the use of coal, oil and gas to generate electricity outside of a global recession or pandemic, according to a new climate change report.
Renewables are now due to meet all growth in demand this year, a new study titled the Global Electricity Review 2023, claimed today.
The report says “2022 will be remembered as a turning point in the world’s transition to clean power”, with non-fossil fuel-based energy sources now accounting for almost 40 percent.
“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine made many governments rethink their plans amid spiking fossil fuel prices and security concerns about relying on fossil fuel imports.
“It also accelerated electrification: more heat pumps, more electric vehicles, more electrolysers. These will drive reductions in emissions for other sectors, and will put more pressure to build clean power more quickly.”
Breakdown of clean power for electricity
Wind and solar power now produce 12 percent of global electricity, with enough wind turbines added worldwide last year to power almost all of the UK.
Around the world, solar grew by 24 percent last year, enough to meet the annual demands of a country as big as South Africa.
Taken together with nuclear and hydropower, clean sources produced 39 percent of global electricity in 2022.
This means energy produced last year was effectively the cleanest ever made.
Why is this shift happening?
Ember attributes this to a boom in renewable energy, chiefly powered by China – which added around 40 percent of the world’s new solar panels last year, with large numbers of rooftop installations
Making electricity is the largest contributor to global warming, responsible for over a third of energy-related carbon emissions in 2021.
However, it believes a new era of falling power sector emissions is “very close.”
It said: “Wind and solar will need to maintain high growth rates this decade, even as they mature. More growth is needed from all other clean electricity sources, while more attention to efficiency is needed to avoid runaway growth in electricity demand.
“Urgent work is needed on ensuring wind and solar can be integrated into the grid: planning permissions, grid connections, grid flexibility and market design”
The study looked at data from 78 countries representing 93 percent of global electricity demand.
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In 2020 solar and wind energy contributed 11.7% to global electricity generation according to the 2021 BP Statistical Review of World Energy. And in 2022 this contribution has crawled up to 12% in two years, a rise of only 1.28% per annum.
So how could solar and wind energy, nuclear power and hydro combined have accounted for nearly 40% of global energy production when coal, oil and natural gas accounted for 84.27%? Something is wrong with their calculations.
Still, the notions of energy transition and net-zero emissions are illusions. They will never ever be achieved.
Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
International Oil Economist
Global Energy Expert