Report: 2023 a Big Year for Renewable Energy

04:37 May 9, 2024

Report: 2023 a Big Year for Renewable Energy

A recent report says that 2023 was a record-breaking year for renewable energy sources.

Ember, a research group based in London, reported that, for the first time, 30 percent of electricity produced worldwide was from clean energy sources. And billions of people are using clean energy sources daily as the number of solar and wind farms continues to grow.


Last year, hydroelectric dams produced most of the clean energy sources - as in most years. Yet dry weather conditions, or droughts, in India, China, and North America meant hydropower hit a five-year low. Research shows climate change is causing droughts to develop more quickly and be more severe.

People used more electricity than ever last year, about 2 percent more, an increase of about as much as Canada uses in a year. Some of this new demand was for heat pumps, which are an efficient way to both heat and cool buildings, and for electric vehicles. The demand was also for electrolyzers, special machines used to get hydrogen out of water, for energy. These are all technologies that provide solutions to climate change.

Other increased demand was for electricity to feed new data centers and for air conditioning as places around the world become hotter.


Solar made up the biggest part of new clean energy last year. More than twice as much solar power was added as coal power. It was the 19th year in a row that solar was the fastest-growing source of electricity generation. A large increase in solar installations happened at the end of the year and the report predicts 2024 will see an even larger jump.

China added more renewable energy than any other country last year — 51 percent of the new solar power and 60 percent of the new wind power worldwide.

China, the European Union, the United States and Brazil together were responsible for 81 percent of new solar generation in 2023.


Despite the growth in clean energy, fossil fuels like coal still made up most of the electricity generated worldwide last year.

The report said some countries burned coal to make up for the loss of hydroelectric power they experienced when drought caused their water supply to dry up.

China was responsible for 55 percent of coal generation worldwide. And 60 percent of China’s electricity generation came from coal. China, India, Vietnam and Mexico were responsible for nearly all of the increase.

The International Energy Agency says fossil fuels release more carbon dioxide to produce electricity. And scientists say fossil fuel burning needs to decrease quickly to protect Earth’s climate.

Experts expect the world to use even more electricity in 2024. However, as renewable energy generation is predicted to grow, it could mean a 2 percent drop in energy generated from fossil fuels.

I’m John Russell.

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