Climate Change: CO2 emission from power sector set to decline as wind and solar reach record high in 2022: Study


New Delhi: Global carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector will begin to decline, as the wind and solar power reached a record 12% of global electricity generation in 2022.

A report by the Climate and Energy think tank Ember said, “It is the beginning of the end of the fossil fuel age and making new era of falling power emissions”.

Ember in its fourth annual Global Electricity Review said that late year could have marked peak emission from the power sector , which is the largest sources of CO2 emission worldwide.

The report analyses electricity data from 78 countries representing 93% of global electricity demand and includes estimated changes in the remaining generation.

It also dives deeper into the top ten CO2 emitting countries and regions, accounting for over 80% of global CO2 emissions.

Electricity generation is the single biggest contributor to global CO2 emissions, responsible for over a third of world’s total energy related emissions in 2021.

As of 2021, about three-quarters of power sector emissions were from coal, and almost a quarter from gas.

It said the carbon intensity of global electricity generation fell to a record low of 436 gCO2/kWh in 2022, the cleanest-ever electricity.

Together, all clean electricity sources (renewables and nuclear) reached 39% of global electricity, a new record high. Solar generation rose by 24%, making it the fastest-growing electricity source for 18 years in a row; wind generation grew by 17%, said Ember.

The growth alone in wind and solar generation met 80% of global electricity demand growth in 2022.

With average growth in electricity demand and clean power, Ember forecast that 2023 will see a small fall in fossil generation with bigger falls in subsequent years as wind and solar grow further.

“That would mean 2022 hit “peak” emissions. A new era of falling power sector emissions is close” it said.

Senior Electricity Analyst, Ember Małgorzata Wiatros-Motyka said, “In this decisive decade for the climate, it is the beginning of the end of the fossil age. We are entering the clean power era. The stage is set for wind and solar to achieve a meteoric rise to the top.

“Clean electricity will reshape the global economy, from transport to industry and beyond. A new era of falling fossil emissions means the coal power phasedown will happen, and the end of gas power growth is now within sight. Change is coming fast. However, it all depends on the actions taken now by governments, businesses and citizens to put the world on a pathway to clean power by 2040” she added.

The electricity sector needs to move from being the highest emitting sector to being the first sector to reach net zero emissions globally by 2040 so the world has a chance to achieve economy-wide net zero by 2050.

The IEA NZE scenario shows a clear route to a net zero global power sector by 2040, and by 2035 for OECD countries.

In the IEA modelling, wind and solar are vital linchpins, providing 75% of the increase in clean power from now to 2050.

The agency said by 2030, wind and solar need to have increased to 41% of global electricity generation, up from 10% in 2021.

Coal generation needs to fall by 54% and gas generation by 24%. At the same time, electricity demand will rise dramatically, by an average of 3.7% per year from 2021 to 2030, as electrification picks up pace.


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