Despite fossil fuels dominating, wind and solar are surging

Associate Editor
Source: Ember Electricity Data Explorer, Ember Global Electricity Review 2024 • Annual data from 2000 to 2022 is gross generation, taken from a variety of sources. 2023 data is an estimate of gross generation, based on generation gathered from monthly data. "Other renewables" includes bioenergy, geothermal, tidal and wave generation.

Wind and solar power’s slice of the global electricity pie is surging, having increased roughly sevenfold over the last dozen or so years.

Together, these renewable energy sources of power generated 13.4% of the world’s electricity in 2023, up from a mere 1.78% in 2010, according to climate think tank Ember.

Renewable energy, including wind, solar and hydropower, generated a record 30% of the world’s electricity last year, according to a report released by the think tank last week.

Despite that record, Ember’s data indicates hydropower and zero-emitting nuclear energy have actually decreased their contributions to the global electricity mix slightly since 2010.

While hydropower is still the world’s largest source of clean power, its share in the world’s energy mix is at its lowest level since 2000. Droughts in recent years have reduced hydropower output in many parts of the world. Meanwhile, some countries moved to reduce their reliance on nuclear power after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident, although in recent years nuclear has been seen more and more as playing a key role in the energy transition.

Fossil fuels still dominate the world’s energy mix, and helped meet rising electricity demand last year, Ember noted.