Electricity from clean sources reaches 30% of global total

Billions of people use different types of energy every day and 2023 was a record year for renewable energy sources, those that do not emit planet-warming pollutants like carbon dioxide and methane — according to a report released Wednesday by Ember, a London-based think tank.

For the first time, 30% of the world’s electricity generated came from clean energy sources, as the number of solar and wind farms continued to grow rapidly.

Of the types of clean energy generated last year, hydroelectric dams produced the most. It’s the same as most years. Yet droughts in India, China, North America and Mexico have driven hydropower to its lowest level in five years. Studies show climate change leads to faster and more severe droughts.

Last year, people used more electricity than ever, about 2% more, an increase roughly equivalent to Canada’s annual consumption. Part of this new request concerned heat pumpswhich provide an efficient means of heating and cooling buildings, and for electric vehicles. It was also for electrolyzers, special machines used to obtain hydrogen out of water, for energy. These are all technologies that provide solutions to climate change.

Another increased demand was for electricity to power new data centers and air conditioning as regions of the world become hotter.

Solar energy accounted for the largest share of new clean energy last year. More than twice as much solar power was added as coal power. This was the 19th consecutive year that solar energy was the fastest growing source of electricity generation. An increase in solar installations occurred at the end of the year and the report predicts that 2024 will see an even greater increase.

China added more renewable energy than any other country last year – 51% of new solar power and 60% of new wind power globally. China, the European Union, the United States and Brazil together accounted for 81% of new solar production in 2023.

Yet China was also responsible for 55% of global coal production and 60% of China’s electricity generation came from coal. THE International Energy Agency states that coal is the most carbon-emitting fossil fuel.

Scientists say emissions from burning fuels like coal need to fall significantly to protect Earth’s climate, but there has been an increase in electricity produced from burning fossil fuels. China, India, Vietnam and Mexico are responsible for almost all of this increase.

The report said some countries are burning coal to make up for the loss of hydroelectric power they suffered when drought caused their reservoirs to dry up. This is an example of a vicious cycle: climate change encourages the use of more of the substances that cause climate change.

Despite all the growth in clean energy, fossil fuels still accounted for the majority of global electricity produced last year, causing a 1% increase in global emissions from the power sector. Scientists say that even if we reduced all greenhouse gas emissions today, the planet would continue to warm for years due to the amount of pollutants already added to the atmosphere.

Analysts expect the world to consume even more electricity in 2024. But renewable energy production is expected to grow even faster. This could mean a 2% drop (333 terawatt hours) in energy produced from fossil fuels.


Associated Press climate and environmental coverage receives financial support from several private foundations. AP is solely responsible for all content. Find AP standards to work with philanthropies, a list of supporters and funded coverage areas on

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Sara Adm

Aimant les mots, Sara Smith a commencé à écrire dès son plus jeune âge. En tant qu'éditeur en chef de son journal scolaire, il met en valeur ses compétences en racontant des récits impactants. Smith a ensuite étudié le journalisme à l'université Columbia, où il est diplômé en tête de sa classe. Après avoir étudié au New York Times, Sara décroche un poste de journaliste de nouvelles. Depuis dix ans, il a couvert des événements majeurs tels que les élections présidentielles et les catastrophes naturelles. Il a été acclamé pour sa capacité à créer des récits captivants qui capturent l'expérience humaine.
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