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Global Renewable Electricity Supply Reaches 30%

Aerial view of a massive solar farm in Spanish fields
Author: Samuel Beckingham
Updated: May 22, 2024
3 minutes read

Despite the demand for electricity increasing, humanity is on track to cut fossil fuel use. The total amount of renewable energy from the world’s electricity supply has passed 30%, meaning more countries are starting to rely on eco-friendly alternatives.

The Report

Climate thinktank Ember published the report, which highlighted massive growth in both wind and solar power. Over the last 10 years, the adoption of clean electricity has slowed the reliance on fossil fuels by almost ⅔. Renewable electricity generation has ballooned from 19% in 2000 to over 30% in 2023.

Solar has been the biggest player in the attributable rise, being the fastest-growing electricity source for the 19th year in a row. It also passed wind power as the largest source of new electricity for the second year running.

80 countries are covered in this comprehensive review, which consists of 92% of the world’s electricity demand. It also has historic data from 215 countries. Thanks to recent data, the renewable increase is expected to lead to a 2% decrease in global fossil fuel generation in the year ahead.

“The decline of power sector emissions is now inevitable. 2023 was likely the pivot point – peak emissions in the power sector – a major turning point in the history of energy. But the pace of emissions falls depends on how fast the renewables revolution continues.”

Dave Jones – Global Insights Programme Director at Ember

Fossil Fuel Use

An alarming 82% of the world’s primary energy comes from fossil fuels, according to a study by the Energy Institute. This includes oil, gas and coal. Although the electricity system will be supplemented by more renewables as the years go on, fossil fuels are still used for transport fuels, heavy industry and heating.

Thanks to the ruling at last year’s COP28 conference, world leaders are aiming to grow the stock of renewables to 60% of global electricity supply by 2030. Were this to happen, there needs to be a tripling of current renewable electricity capacity in the next six years. This would then have a knock-on effect of almost halving power sector emissions.

Renewables Growth in Other Countries

China, Brazil and the Netherlands were the countries on top of the quick rollout of renewables. While China accounted for 51% of new solar generation and 60% of wind power, other countries have been left behind.

Concerns have been raised about all countries switching to clean energy due to a lack of access to funds. African nations tend to face higher borrowing costs than other countries. With the right amount of investment, rollout of new renewables would be so much faster, according to Joab Okanda, Senior Adviser for Christian Aid in Kenya.

Perhaps the biggest barrier to a global renewable electricity grid is the distribution of funds. Not all countries will be able to transition as quickly, if at all, but foreign aid will be one of the only ways pickup can be rapidly ensured.

Get Solar Panels

If you’re set on reducing your reliance on the grid and having cheaper electricity bills, why not consider getting solar panels? You can earn money from them by exporting energy through the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG). As an added bonus, you’ll reduce your carbon footprint as well.

Find out how much you’d pay for solar by clicking on the button below.