That’s according to a report by energy think tank Ember which suggests wind and solar will push the world into a new era of falling fossil generation and emissions from 2023 onwards.
Ember’s Global Electricity Review, based on electricity data from 78 countries, showed that solar was the fastest-growing source of electricity for the eighteenth year in a row, rising by 24%, while wind generation increased by 17% in 2022.
Over sixty countries now generate more than 10% of their electricity from wind and solar, with all clean electricity sources (renewables and nuclear) reaching 39% of global electricity, a new record high.
Despite concerns over the global gas crisis and a potential return to coal, wind and solar generation in 2022 met 80% of the rise in global electricity demand, limiting the increase in coal generation to 1.1%.
However, coal power remained the single largest source of electricity worldwide, producing 36% of global electricity in 2022.
Gas power generation fell slightly (-0.2%). However, power sector emissions still increased by 1.3% in 2022, reaching an all-time high.
The report predicts that 2022 may be the “peak” of electricity emissions and the final year of fossil power growth, with clean power meeting all demand growth this year.
This could result in a small fall in fossil generation (-0.3%) in 2023, with larger falls in subsequent years as wind and solar deployment accelerate.
The report forecasts wind and solar reaching 41% of global electricity by 2030, compared to 12% in 2022.
Ember’s lead author, Małgorzata Wiatros-Motyka, said that “clean electricity will reshape the global economy” and “a new era of falling fossil emissions means the coal power phasedown will happen, and the end of gas power growth is now within sight.”
However, Wiatros-Motyka stressed that action by governments, businesses and citizens is needed now to put the world on a pathway to clean power by 2040.
According to the International Energy Agency, the electricity sector needs to move from being the highest-emitting sector to being the first sector to reach net zero by 2040 to achieve economy-wide net zero by 2050.