Renewable energy sources are now used for a third of the world’s electricity needs

Something to look forward to: A new report from an independent global energy think tank paints a decidedly optimistic picture for the future of energy. According to Ember, renewable sources have reached record rates in electricity generation, significantly reducing emissions in some of the world’s most energy-hungry regions.

Ember has just released its latest Global Electricity Review, a report detailing the use of renewable and fossil fuel sources in generating electric energy for various needs of individuals and businesses. In it, the non-profit UK organization says renewable energy sources accounted for more than a third of electricity generated in 2023.

With the report, the group aims to provide the first “comprehensive overview” of changes in electricity generation over the past year. Data indicates that 2023 was a pivotal year for renewable sources as solar and wind sources saw growth rates of 23 percent and 10 percent, respectively. Conversely, fossil sources experienced only a 0.8 percent increase in electricity generation.

Ember’s report gathered data from 215 different countries, including the latest available data for 80 countries representing 92 percent of global electricity demand. Data from 13 geographic and economic regions, such as Asia, Africa, the EU, and the G7, is also included.

For the first time, Ember is providing access to its comprehensive dataset free of charge.

Ember states that the undeniable growth of renewable sources, particularly solar energy, will propel the world towards a “new era” where fossil fuel generation becomes less prominent.

The report highlights that renewable sources for electricity generation only accounted for 19 percent of the global market in 2000, whereas they now surpass 30 percent. However, hydropower sources hit a five-year low in 2023, with coal and other fossil fuel sources compensating for it, thus preventing a further reduction in greenhouse emissions.

Global electricity demand increased by 2.2 percent in 2023, with Ember forecasting even higher demand for 2024. Over the next decade, the energy transition is expected to enter a new phase characterized by a “permanent” decline in fossil fuels and decreasing emissions. Ember predicts that the power sector will be the first to decarbonize, although fossil sources such as oil, gas, and coal still dominate the world’s primary energy consumption.

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