Renewable energy booming in major economies

  • India is on track to meet its renewable energy target of 500GW by 2030
  • Coal now accounts for less than 50% of India’s power 
  • Solar farms generated more than 60% of Germany’s electricity last week
Solar panels next to a cricket pitch in Noida Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, India

Solar panels next to a cricket pitch in Noida Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, India

Data from two of the largest economies in the world shows that renewable energy is accounting for an increasing share of energy at the expense of fossil fuels, with India’s coal usage plummeting and German’s solar power rapidly increasing. 

According to the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), India is using less coal in its power sector, having dropped to less than half for the first time in six decades, indicating a positive response towards renewable energy

The country added a record-breaking 13,669 megawatts (MW) of power generation capacity in the first quarter of 2024, with renewable energy accounting for a 71% share, according to the Achieving India’s Renewable Energy Target by 2030 report.

The figures mark a pivotal moment as the coal share dropped below 50% for the first time since the 1960s. 

These results showed that India is ahead of schedule to meet its target of 500 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy capacity by 2030. As of March 2024, India has successfully installed 190GW of renewable energy.

“Even though the country continued to generate more electricity from coal, the additional renewable capacity point to a more sustainable future for India’s electricity sector,” the report said. 

Meanwhile, Germany is also showing positive signs and has been generating high levels of electricity from solar power. 

Solar farms generated more than 60% of the country’s electricity for several hours a day for the past few weeks. This combined with Germany’s new solar generation capacity meant the country has accelerated its movement away from fossil fuels

Germany’s solar farms records 17,531MW of electricity during the week to May 13. According to data from the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG), this was 40% more than the prior week and nearly 50% more than the long-term year on year average. 

The highest recorded from solar assets produced 43.8GW of the 72.4GW of electricity generated in Germany at that time, according to Electricity Maps.  

In 2023, Germany relied on fossil fuels for 46% of its electricity, placing it above the global average, according to energy think tank, Ember. 

“Its share of wind and solar (39%) is three times the global average (13%) and similar to Spain (40%) and the Netherlands (41%),” Ember said. 

Germany aims for 75% renewable electricity by 2030, 15% higher than the IEA’s Net Zero Emissions global target of 60% by 2030. As of 2023, renewable energy has exceeded 30% of the global electricity supply. 

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. 
Reviewed by:
Max joined The Eco Experts as content manager in February 2024. He has written about sustainability issues across numerous industries, including maritime, supply chain, finance, mining and retail. He has also written for  City AM, The Morning Star and the Daily Express.
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