Renewables took a significant leap forward in 2023, accounting for a record 30.3% of global electricity production according to a new report by energy think tank Ember. This surge in clean energy aligns with global climate goals and puts a target to triple renewable capacity by 2030 within reach.

The report, titled “Global Electricity Review,” highlights the critical role of reducing fossil fuel reliance in the power sector to achieve climate targets. Over 100 countries pledged to triple renewable energy capacity by 2030 at the COP28 climate summit held last year in Dubai.

Ember’s findings show a significant increase in renewable energy generation in 2023, up from 29.4% the previous year. This growth is attributed primarily to a rise in solar power projects, which significantly boosted overall renewable capacity.

“The remarkable growth in solar capacity witnessed in 2023 strengthens the possibility of achieving the 2030 target of tripling renewable capacity, as promised at COP28,” said Dave Jones, Ember’s Director of Global Insights.

China emerged as a key player in this renewable energy boom, contributing to over half of the global increase in solar and wind capacity last year. The report also details a 23.2% rise in global solar generation and a 9.8% increase in wind power production.

Industry experts acknowledge challenges such as grid connection issues and permitting delays for new projects that could potentially hinder achieving the ambitious 2030 target.

“A permanent decline in fossil fuel use within the global power sector is now inevitable, leading to a reduction in emissions from this crucial sector,” the report said.

The report predicts continued growth in renewables, leading to a projected 2% decline in fossil fuel power generation in 2024. This decline would push overall fossil fuel reliance in the power sector below 60% for the first time since at least the year 2000 when Ember’s data collection began.

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