Wind and solar energy accounted for the vast majority in new electricity demand worldwide, limiting global climate pollution growth from the power sector even as coal-fired generation rose slightly, Ember’s annual Global Electricity Review shows. The report, which analyzed the power sectors of 78 countries responsible for 93% of global electricity demand, offers points of qualified optimism.
“It is the beginning of the end of the fossil fuel age,” Ember analyst Malgorzata Wiatros-Motyka told Bloomberg. Coal-fired generation rose 1.1%, in part because of the methane gas crisis set off by the Russian war in Ukraine, and part because of an increase in Chinese coal-fired power.
That ending must accelerate, however. Ember’s Dave Jones, another of the report’s authors, told the BBC. Jones said China could reach peak coal generation “earlier than 2025, which would be significant. But University of Bergen professor Jessica Jewell, who was not involved in the report, cautioned, “The earliest peak of coal power generation was in the UK in 1979 [and] the UK still used a bit of coal in 2022, 43 years past the peak. In order to reach clean energy goals we don’t have 40 or even 30 years, we need to fully decarbonize electricity in a much shorter time.” (Ember report: BBC, Bloomberg $, CNBC, Reuters, OilPrice, New Scientist)