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Renewable energy share of global electricity generation

Renewable energy reaches 30% of global electricity supply in 2023

Renewable energy sources have generated for the first time 30% of the global electricity supply in 2023, as indicated by Ember on their latest report. Wind and solar had an unprecedented impact representing 13.4% (3,935 TWh) of the combined total mix, in comparison to a 0.2% contribution in the year 2000, when the total generation derived from renewables only reached 19%. This new record represents a turning point where renewables are forcing the decline of fossil generation.

The CO2 intensity of global power generation decreased by 12%, and clean generation growth is expected to lead a 2% fall in global fossil generation. In fact, solar and wind contributed to slow down the growth in fossil fuels by two-thirds in the last decade.

102 countries had a renewable generation share of 30% or higher, and 69 countries exceeded 50%. Combined with nuclear, almost 40% of the world's electricity mix comes now from low-carbon sources. China was the main contributor providing 51% of the additional global solar generation and 60% of the new global wind generation. The EU, the US, and Brazil are other major contributors, together reach up to 81% of solar power growth in 2023, as indicated on the report.

Demand growth is also highlighted on the analysis as it was lower than usual in 2023 - being China the major contributor, followed by India, as highlighted by Ember. This weak electricity demand growth was notorious in the OECD countries. By contrast, demand will only go up in the future thanks to fast-growing technologies like EVs and heat pumps.

Solar growth surpassed wind

The highest contributions came from solar and wind, representing a generation growth of 23% (+307 TWh),and 9,8% (+206 TWh), respectively; while fossil fuel generation growth was 0.8%, as showcased on the report. Solar contributed a 5.5% (1,631 TWh) share and wind a 7.8% (2,304 TWh) of the global electricity mix, as stated by Ember. However, the absolute growth of both clean sources was slightly smaller than in 2022 and below expectations due to a lower-than-expected wind growth.

Hydropower generation fall, while bioenergy increased

Drought caused a drop in global hydropower generation, denoting a record annual fall (-88 TWh) that led to a five-year low of 4,210 TWh - this fall was mainly covered by coal. Notwithstanding that, hydropower remained as the largest source of clean power at the global level, representing 14.3% of the total electricity mix. With respect to bioenergy electricity generation, it represents a share of 2.4% of the combined global mix, which indicates an slightly increase of 3.1% (21 TWh).

Global renewable capacity additions

Global annual renewable capacity additions increased almost a 50% in 2023 in comparison to the previous year, reaching nearly 510 GW, according to the 2023 Market Monitor for demand side flexibility published by the SmartEn and LCPDelta (2024). Europe, the US and Brazil had an steady growth, but China's acceleration has been remarkable. The report indicates that solar PV alone accounted for three-quarters of renewable capacity additions worldwide. It is foreseen that global renewable capacity will reach 7300 GW by 2028, with a substantial contribution form solar and wind generation that is expected to double to 25%. In terms of renewable electricity generation, it is expected to reach around 14400 TWh, an increase of almost 70% from 2022 - as stated on the Market Monitor.

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