Wind and solar, the fastest-growing sources of electricity, set a new high of 10% of global electricity in 2021.
Fifty countries around the world have now accomplished this milestone. In 2021, clean energy sources generated more electricity than coal, accounting for 38% of global electricity.
According to Ember’s global lead, Dave Jones, the wind and sun have come. The transformation of the current energy system has begun. To reverse global emissions rises and combat climate change this decade, they must be implemented at a breakneck pace.
Ember’s third annual Global Electricity Review was published, along with all of the supporting statistics. The paper and statistics cover energy generation in 209 nations from 2000 to 2020, with the most recent data for 75 countries representing 93% of global power consumption in 2021.
In 2021, 50 countries, including all five of the world’s top economies, generated more than a tenth of their electricity from wind and solar, according to the analysis.
In 2021, China, Japan, Mongolia, Vietnam, Argentina, Hungary, and El Salvador became the seventh country to pass the milestone for the first time: China, Japan, Mongolia, Vietnam, Argentina, Hungary, and El Salvador. Since the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015, the global proportion of wind and solar has doubled.
The Netherlands, Australia, and Vietnam are undergoing the most rapid shift, with approximately a tenth of their electricity consumption switching from fossil fuels to wind and solar in just two years.
In 2021, ten nations, led by Denmark with 52%, generated more than a quarter of their electricity from wind and solar, indicating that significant amounts of variable renewables can be successfully integrated into the grid. After the pandemic, power consumption increased to its highest level ever in 2021 (plus 1,414 TWh), the equivalent of adding a new India to the world’s electrical need.
Despite record-breaking growth in wind and solar output, they only met 29% of the global increase in electricity demand in 2021, with fossil fuels covering the remainder.