Renewable energy exceeds 30% of the global electricity supply

  • Renewable energy accounted for more than 30% of the world’s electricity in 2023
  • Fossil generation is forecast to decline in 2024
  • Renewable energy will help create more stable energy prices
Renewable energy 2024

Renewable energy accounted for more than 30% of the world’s electricity for the first time in 2023 thanks to an increase in solar and wind power, according to new figures by energy think tank Ember

In its latest annual review of global electricity data, Ember said the “world is now at a turning point where solar and wind not only slow emissions growth, but will actually start to push fossil generation into decline”. 

The company claims growth in wind and solar are set to exceed demand and there will be a peak in fossil fuel electricity generation and emissions from 2024.

Solar power was the main supplier of electricity growth, Ember found, adding more than twice as much new electricity generation as coal in 2023. Drought, however, caused a five-year low in hydropower, which created a shortfall that was met in large part by coal. 

Renewable energy has helped slow the growth in fossil fuel by almost two-thirds in the past decade, the report found. In fact, renewables have grown from 19% of electricity in 2000 compared to the 30% in 2023. 

“Demand growth in 2024 is expected to be higher than in 2023, but clean generation growth is forecast to be even greater, leading to a 2% fall in global fossil generation,” Ember claimed. 

It also said that half the world’s economies are already at least five years past a peak in electricity generation from fossil fuels.

Organisation for Economic Corporation and Development (OECD) countries, it claimed, are at the forefront of this, with power sector emissions collectively peaking in 2007 and falling 28% since.

Ember predicted fossil generation will fall slightly in 2024, leading to larger falls in subsequent years. 

Dave Jones, global insights programme director, Ember, continued: “The renewables future has arrived. Solar in particular is accelerating faster than anyone thought possible. The decline of power sector emissions is now inevitable. 

“2023 was likely the pivot point – peak emissions in the power sector – a major turning point in the history of energy. But the pace of emissions falls depends on how fast the renewables revolution continues.” 

Jones said the good news is that “we already know the key enablers that help countries unleash the full potential of solar and wind” and that “there’s an unprecedented opportunity for countries that choose to be at the forefront of the clean energy future”. 

Renewable energy will help countries meet their net zero goals quicker, as well as help stabilise energy prices, which have only recently started to decline, which is the first time since before the pandemic in 2020. 

It can also be produced on a much smaller scale compared to fossil fuels and has lower running costs. 

The report analyses electricity data from 215 countries, including the latest 2023 data for 80 countries representing 92% of global electricity demand. The analysis also includes data for 13 geographic and economic groupings, such as Africa, Asia, the EU and the G7. 

Written by:
Tamara Birch, senior writer, The Eco Experts
Tamara has written about environmental topics for more than four years. This includes advising small business owners on cost-effective ways, like solar panels and energy-efficient products to help them become more sustainable. 
Back to Top