A tenth of the world’s electricity now comes from wind and solar, according to new research by London-based thinktank, Ember.
The report, entitled Global Electricity Review 2021, found wind and solar have driven a record fall in global coal generation in 2020, which dropped by 4 per cent.
Global programme lead at Ember, Dave Jones, told Euronews Living: “What’s impressive from our analysis is that the majority of countries across the world are now building wind and solar.
“And that adds up – a tenth of the world’s electricity last year came from just wind and solar, and that’s doubled in just five years.”
The results, according to Ember, are as a result of the drop in demand for fossil fuels since the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the UK, wind and solar power made up almost 29 per cent of all energy generation in 2020. This is over four times the global average of 6%, leading the UK to beat Germany to the top spot.
The UK has also achieved the G20’s fastest decline in coal generation since 2015, according to Ember, which found that coal use reduced by 93%. This places the UK ahead of Italy and Germany at 65% and 51% respectively, with coal now accounting for a just 1.7% of electricity production, significantly below the global average of 34%.
The UK also recorded the largest fall in gas generation. This fell by 15% year-on-year, with France coming in second with 9%.
Overall, the UK still produces 37% of its electricity from gas, placing it ninth in the G20 and above the global average of 23%.
When it comes to demand, the UK electricity demand per capita has declined more in the last decade than any other G20 country. Ember explained that while at 4.8 MWh/capita it is still 1.5 times the global average, the decrease of 20% since 2010 does place the UK’s per capita electricity demand below Italy and China.
Elsewhere, in the EU, wind and solar power made up almost 20% of all energy generation in 2020, twice the global average. Renewables generated more energy than fossil fuels in the bloc for the first time ever last year.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living.