A new analysis has shown that in 2021, wind and solar energy generated 10% of global electricity for the first time.
As the world's economies rebounded from the Covid-19 pandemic in 2021, the demand for energy soared. Indeed, the growth in the need for electricity last year was the equivalent of adding another India to the world's energy grid.
Recent research from climate thinktank Ember has also shown that 50 countries now get more than a tenth of their power from wind and solar sources. And overall, on a world scale, the share of wind and solar power in global electricity generation has doubled since 2015, when the Paris Climate Agreement was signed.
Despite this growth, and the fact that some countries such as Denmark now get more than 50% of their electricity from wind and solar, the use of coal power also saw a remarkable rise in 2021. Research shows that despite the coal resurgence in 2021, major economies including the US, UK, Germany and Canada are aiming to shift their energy grids to 100% carbon-free electricity within the next 15 years, a switch driven by concerns over keeping the world’s temperature rise under 1.5°C.
Portugal is set to contribute to this target, with Europe’s largest floating solar park due to launch later this summer. The floating panels will generate 7.5 Gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity per year and will supply 1,500 local homes with power.
Even locally, many organisations are participating in this shift, aiding in the international effort to decarbonise the world’s energy grid. Buckinghamshire Council is set to approve a new 49-hectare solar farm in Aylesbury Vale that will produce enough power for around 14,000 homes and save more than 25,000 tonnes of CO₂e per year.
The early signs of a 100% carbon-free energy grid are there, with countries, organisations and individuals all contributing to this shift on both macro and micro levels.
Yet much more is still to be done to reach this goal.
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