Wind, solar are the fastest-growing sources of electricity: Report

Originally posted in The Business Standard on 30 March 2022

The report highlighted that carbon emission rate in Bangladesh last year was four-times higher than in 2000

Photo: Bloomberg

Wind and solar are the fastest-growing sources of electricity, reached a record 10 percent of global electricity in 2021, according to a report of Ember, an independent, not-for-profit climate and energy think tank.

The report reveals that the milestone has now been reached by 50 countries around the world.

Ember’s third annual Global Electricity Review was released on 30 March, said a press release.

The report covers electricity generation for 209 countries from 2000 to 2020, with the latest data for 2021 for 75 countries representing 93 percent of global power demand.

Among the 50 countries, five are the world’s largest economies.

Seven new countries passed the landmark for the first time in 2021: China, Japan, Mongolia, Viet Nam, Argentina, Hungary, and El Salvador.

Across the world, the share of wind and solar has doubled since 2015 when the Paris Agreement was signed.

Overall, clean sources generated 38 percent of the world’s electricity in 2021, more than coal (36 percent), says the review.

Among the electricity generated solely through solar and wind in Bangladesh, 98 percent is produced from solar energy in 2021.

Wind and solar contributed to 0.59 Tera Watt per Hour (TWh) of the total electricity generation in Bangladesh in 2021.

The report highlighted that carbon emission rate in Bangladesh last year was four-times higher than in 2000.

Meanwhile, electricity demand rebounded after the pandemic to the largest ever annual increase in 2021, the equivalent of adding a new India to the world’s electricity demand.

Despite the record growth in wind and solar generation, they only met 29 percent of the global increase in electricity demand in 2021, with the rest met by fossil fuels.

In 2021, coal power saw the fastest growth since at least 1985.

The record rise in coal was not matched by global gas generation, which increased by only one percent in 2021.

The increase in fossil fuels pushed global power sector CO2 emissions to an all-time high, beating the previous record in 2018 by three percent.

Even though, wind and solar generation grew by 17 percent in 2021, to get the power sector on track for 1.5 degrees, wind and solar need to increase the compound growth rates of 20 percent every year to 2030, which was the average rate of growth over the last decade.

However, Dave Jones, Ember’s global lead, said that wind and solar had arrived.

“The process that will reshape the existing energy system has begun. This decade they need to be deployed at lightning speed to reverse global emissions increases and tackle climate change,” said Dave Jones.