On a High Note: 38% of the World's Energy is Clean
According to new analysis by energy think tank Ember, clean energy comprised 38% of the world's electricity generated in 2021. This is an even larger share than coal, which generated 36% of the world’s energy last year.
In particular, wind and solar power have grown considerably. In 2015, wind and solar generated only 4.6% of global electricity, while now they generate 10.3%. According to the International Energy Agency, renewable capacity is forecasted for accelerated growth in the next five years, accounting for almost 95% of the increase in global power capacity through 2026. In 2021, 50 countries getting more than 10% of their power come from wind, including China, Japan, Mongolia, Vietnam, Argentina, Hungary, and El Salvador.
The US installed over 200 gigawatts of utility-scale clean power capacity, and is looking to install even more: The New York Bight, an almost 500,000-acre area of land off the Long Island and New Jersey coast, is on track to become the site of a new offshore wind infrastructure project of unprecedented scale. But there is still room for improvement. Fossil fuels still account for the majority of energy consumption, generating 62% of the world’s electricity in 2021, an increase of 1% from 2020.
Dave Jones, global electricity analyst for Ember, summarizes the need to keep growing the renewable energy sector in a conversation with Fast Company: "Solar and wind technology, along with public acceptance and ambitious commitments, have come a long way. It is in the hands of governments as gatekeepers to make sure it actually happens and all that potential comes through.”
Bloomberg: Biden Invokes Cold War Powers to Boost EV Battery Production, March 31, 2022.
International Renewable Energy Agency: World Energy Transitions Outlook 2022, March 22, 2022.
CNBC: How The U.S. Can Build A 100% Clean Grid, January 27, 2021.