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Solar, Wind Power Hit Record Tenth of Global Electricity in 2021

Solar panels and wind turbine

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Solar and Wind, the fastest growing sources of electricity, reach a record ten percent of global electricity in 2021; all clean power is now 38% of supply. But demand growth rebounded, leading to a record rise in coal power and emissions, says the ‘Global Electricity Review 2022’ report.

In its Global Electricity Review, energy and climate think tank Ember said the combined production of electricity from wind and solar has more than doubled since the Paris Agreement was signed.

Solar generation rose 23% last year, and wind by 14%. Combined, this takes them to more than 10% of global electricity generation. All clean electricity sources generated 38% of the world’s electricity in 2021, more than coal (36%).

To be on a pathway that keeps global heating to 1.5 degrees, wind and solar need to sustain high compound growth rates of 20% every year to 2030. That’s the same rate of growth as their average over the last decade.

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This is now eminently possible – wind and solar are the lowest cost source of electricity on a levelised basis, with ever-increasing global experience of integrating them into grids at high levels. With 50 individual countries now generating more than 10% of their electricity from these quick-to-deploy resources, and three countries already generating over 40%, it is already clear that these technologies are delivering.

Governments like the US, Germany, UK and Canada are so confident in clean electricity that they are planning to shift their grid to 100% clean electricity within the next decade and a half. But with coal still rising and electricity demand continuing to increase, all governments with carbon intensive grids now need to act with that same boldness and ambition.

Ember’s third annual Global Electricity Review aims to provide the most transparent and up-to-date overview of changes in the global electricity transition in 2021.

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