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Global Green Energy Turn Over New Leaf, Solar and Wind Power to Account for More Than 10% for First Time

published: 2022-10-11 9:30

According to BloombergNEF’s (BNEF) 2022 Power Transition Trends Report, the share of total global wind and solar power generation exceeded 10% for the first time in 2021, reaching a new high, but at the same time, carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants have also broken a new record.

According to the BNEF report, the total global wind and solar power generation in 2021 will be close to 3,000 TWh, accounting for 10.5% of global power generation, wind power will increase to 6.8%, and solar power will be 3.5%. Even less than 1%, today 39% of global electricity generation in 2021 will be zero-carbon energy sources, with hydro and nuclear power supplying a quarter of global electricity demand.

The report pointed out that as the global economy gradually recovers from COVID-19, both power generation and emissions increased significantly in 2021. New power generation mainly came from renewable energy. Wind and solar energy accounted for three-quarters of the new capacity in 2021. If hydropower, nuclear power, and other clean energy sources are added, it increases to 85%.

However, as mentioned above, emissions have also increased a lot, and coal-fired power plants have also reached new highs in power generation and emissions. BNEF said that between 2020 and 2021, coal-fired power plant use increased by a record 8.5%. The report attributed this to a surge in energy demand, which rose 5.6% over the same period, combined with a drought-induced reduction in hydropower generation and dire gas prices in Europe, forcing coal-fired power to fill the gap.

Michael Bloomberg, the founder of Bloomberg News, believes that for the social economy, public health, and climate change, the new record of coal-fired power generation is not good news. The new report expresses to the leaders of the world that the clean energy transition period requires a larger scale and bolder action.

The report pointed out that the proportion of coal-fired power generation is still at 27%, which is the largest single power generation category in the world, and the proportion may continue to rise in 2022 because European countries need to make up for the hydropower gap caused by drought in the short term and the soaring natural gas prices after the Russian-Ukrainian war. Germany alone has restarted 3.2GW of coal-fired capacity and Germany is expected to add another 5.5GW by the end of the year, BNEF said.

However, BNEF also added that although the proportion of coal-fired power generation in Europe has increased, it is mainly from China, India, and the United States, accounting for 63% of the total coal-fired power generation. Among them, China accounts for 52% of the world's total coal consumption, India and the United States account for 11% and 9% respectively, and the remaining seven coal-burning countries are Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, South Africa, Germany, Russia and Australia, account for 87% of coal-fired power generation.


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