A recent study shows that in 2021, wind and solar energy will account for 10% of all global electricity production for the first time.
Ember, a climate and energy think group, says that 50 countries generate more than 10 percent of their power from wind and solar sources.
After the Covid-19 epidemic of 2021, global energy demand skyrocketed.
Electricity demand surged at an unprecedented rate. Since 1985, coal power has grown at the fastest speed.
The electricity demand grew by the equivalent of adding a new India to the global system last year, according to a new study.
Almost 38 percent of the world’s electricity will come from renewable sources in 2021.
Solar panels and wind turbines produced 10% of the total for the first time.
Since the signing of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change in 2015, wind and sun’s contribution to energy production has increased by a factor of two.
The Netherlands, Australia, and Vietnam were among the countries that rapidly transitioned to wind and solar energy sources.
It’s been two years since all three of them switched a tenth of their electricity needs from fossil fuels to renewable sources.
According to Hannah Broadbent from Ember, “The Netherlands is an excellent example of a more northern latitude country showing that it is not just where the sun shines, it is also about having the proper policy environment.”
The solar industry in Vietnam, for example, grew by more than 300% in a single year.
Ember’s global lead Dave Jones explained that feed-in tariffs – money the government pays you to generate electricity – were a significant factor in Vietnam’s massive increase in solar generation.
“This made it very attractive for households and utilities to be deploying large amounts of solar,” Jones said.
As a result, coal and gas generation decreased significantly last year, which in turn contributed to an increase in solar generation.
Despite the growth and the fact that certain nations like Denmark currently acquire more than 50% of their electricity from wind and solar, coal power increased significantly in 2021.
Coal-fired energy grew by 9% in 2021, the fastest rate since 1985, to meet the increased demand for electricity.
A large portion of the growth in coal use occurred in Asian countries, such as China and India.
However, gas use only climbed by 1%, showing that rising prices have made coal more economical as an energy source.
According to Dave Jones, “the last year has seen some crazy high gas prices, where coal has become cheaper than gas.”
“Right now, gas prices in Europe and much of Asia are ten times higher than they were a year ago, while coal is three times more expensive.
It is a “double motivation for energy systems to demand more clean electricity because the economics have moved so fundamentally” due to the spike in gas and coal prices.
Major economies, including the United States, UK, Germany, and Canada, are seeking to transition to carbon-free electricity within the next 15 years, even if coal returns in 2021.
Concerns about restricting the rise in global temperatures to less than 1.5 degrees Celsius this century have prompted this shift.
Scientists estimate that wind and solar power will need to develop at a rate of about 20% annually through 2030 to meet this goal.
According to the authors of this new study, this is now “very likely.”
The conflict in Ukraine may also encourage the development of alternative energy sources that do not rely on Russian oil and gas imports.
According to Hannah Broadbent, this might be a turning point for the planet: “Wind and solar have arrived and provided a way out of the various issues that the world is facing,” she added.