- Daily Zen
The world is slowly reducing its coal dependence for electricity generations and turning to renewables like solar and wind.
A report by Ember says that wind and solar have become a major source of electricity in most countries in the world, replacing fossil fuel like coal.
Renewable energy share has more than doubled to 8 percent from 4.6 percent in 2015, when the Paris Agreement was signed, though it is nowhere near the desired level.
Ember collected national electricity generation data from 48 countries, making up 83% of global electricity production. According to their analysis, wind and solar generation rose 14% in the first half of this year (H1-2020) compared to H1-2019, generating almost a tenth (9.8%) of global electricity.
Many key countries now generate around a tenth of their electricity from wind and solar: China (10%), the US (12%), India (10%), Japan (10%), Brazil (10%) and Turkey (13%). The EU and UK were substantially higher with 21% and 33% respectively; within the EU, Germany rose to 42%. Russia is the largest country so far to shun wind and solar, with just 0.2% of its electricity from wind and solar.
Global coal generation fell 8.3% in the first half of 2020, compared to H1-2019. In 2019 it was 3%, which again was a record fall since 1990.
The fall in H1-2020 is attributed to a demand fall due to the pandemic. For the first time, the world’s coal fleet ran at less than half of its capacity this year.
China is still the biggest consumer of coal, with only a 2% fall, meaning its share of global coal generation rose to 54% so far this year, up from 50% in 2019 and 44% in 2015. India’s share in solar and wind power has increased to 10 percent.
“Countries across the world are now on the same path – building wind turbines and solar panels to replace electricity from coal and gas-fired power plants,” Dave Jones, senior electricity analyst at Ember, said.
The top three carbon polluters in the world are the US, India and China.
According to a Reuters report, renewables and nuclear are set to surpass coal as a share of the US electricity mix in 2020. In 2019, in the US, renewables beat coal generation based power for the first time.
Coal needs to fall by 13% every year this decade, and even in the face of a global pandemic, coal generation has only reduced 8% in the first half of 2020.
The IPCC’s benchmark of 1.5 degree rise in global warming to maintain the pre-industrial level of heating shows coal needs to fall to just 6% of the global generation by 2030, from 33% in H1-2020. The IPCC shows in all scenarios, most of coal’s replacement is with wind and solar.
“The fact that, during a global pandemic, coal generation has still only fallen by 8% shows just how far off-track we still are,” Jones said. “We have the solution; it’s working, it’s just not happening fast enough.