Wind, solar reach record 12% of electricity in 2022 globally: Ember

Wind and solar reached a record 12 per cent of global electricity in 2022, up from 10 per cent in 2021, says a report by energy think tank Ember.

The report, released on Wednesday, forecasts that from 2023, wind and solar will push the world into a new era of falling fossil generation, and therefore falling power sector emissions.

In India, the combined share of wind and solar reached nine per cent (165 TWh) in 2022. However, six states were above the global average in 2022, led by Goa (78 per cent), Rajasthan (36 per cent), Gujarat (30 per cent) and Karnataka (28 per cent).

"In this decisive decade for the climate, it is the beginning of the end of the fossil age," said lead author, Malgorzata Wiatros-Motyka. "We are entering the clean power era."

The fourth annual Global Electricity Review from energy think tank Ember presents electricity data from 2022 across 78 countries, representing 93 per cent of global electricity demand.

The open data and in-depth analysis provide the first accurate picture of the global electricity transition in 2022.

Solar was the fastest-growing source of electricity for the 18 year in a row, rising by 24 per cent year-on-year and adding enough electricity to power all of South Africa.

Wind generation increased by 17 per cent in 2022, enough to power almost all of the UK.

The data reveals that over 60 countries now generate more than 10 per cent of their electricity from wind and solar. Together, all clean electricity sources (renewables and nuclear) reached 39 per cent of global electricity, a new record high. Despite this progress, coal power remained the single largest source of electricity worldwide, producing 36 per cent of global electricity in 2022.

The growth in wind and solar generation in 2022 met an impressive 80 per cent of the rise in global electricity demand. In spite of the global gas crisis and fears of a return to coal, it was that rise in wind and solar that limited the increase in coal generation (plus 1.1 per cent).

Gas power generation fell very slightly (minus 0.2 per cent) in 2022. Overall, that still meant that power sector emissions increased by 1.3 per cent in 2022, reaching an all-time high.

However, the report forecasts that last year may be the 'peak' of electricity emissions and the final year of fossil power growth, with clean power meeting all demand growth this year.

As a result, there would be a small fall in fossil generation (minus 0.3 per cent) in 2023, with larger falls in subsequent years as wind and solar deployment accelerates.

According to modelling by 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 in order to achieve economy-wide net zero by 2050.

This would mean wind and solar reaching 41 per cent of global electricity by 2030, compared to 12 per cent in 2022.

Responding to India's renewable generation capacity reaching a record 12 per cent in 2022, Ember's senior electricity policy analyst, Aditya Lolla, said: "India's clean electricity transition journey has now reached a critical juncture. The country needs to build upon its recent solar power surge.

"It needs to ramp up renewable generation capacity to meet its growing demand, build enough storage capacity to meet peak demand and develop infrastructure to facilitate grid integration. These are all big challenges but they need to be addressed for India to achieve its 500 GW non-fossil capacity by 2030 and ensure its coal-fired generation is closer to peaking."