Global Power Systems are Still Dominated by Fossil Fuels

In 2023, the global electricity generation landscape is marked by a significant reliance on fossil fuels, despite the increasing adoption of renewable energy sources. Key countries, including the United States, China, India, Japan, Poland, and Turkey, continue to derive a substantial portion of their electricity from fossil fuels, emphasizing the challenges faced by delegates at the COP28 climate conference in Dubai

Fossil Fuels’ Dominance in Global Electricity Generation

Fossil fuels accounted for over 60% of global electricity generation in 2023, with coal emerging as the predominant source, constituting 36% of global electricity. Notable reliance on fossil fuels among major manufacturing and exporting nations underscores the challenges in transitioning to cleaner energy sources.

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Regional Trends in Coal and Natural Gas Usage

While there has been a decline in coal’s share in Europe and North America since 2019, Asia has maintained a steady 56% share of global coal usage. Despite efforts to decrease coal’s contribution, India persists with a coal share exceeding 70%, and countries like Indonesia, the Philippines, and Poland continue to rely on coal for over half of their electricity

Natural gas claimed the second-largest share of global electricity generation, reaching a new high in August 2023, particularly in the United States and China. Despite its displacement of coal in some regions, gas usage in certain markets, including Germany, Japan, and South Korea, has not surpassed previous peaks

Growth of Renewable Energy

Renewable energy has outpaced fossil fuels threefold since 2019, providing a significant boost to the transition away from fossil fuels. Despite this growth, clean electricity’s share of total generation has yet to exceed 40% during the January to August period, indicating the continued dominance of fossil fuels in the global energy mix[1].

The Path Forward

COP28 attendees aspire to see clean energy surpass fossil fuels in total generation, with renewable electricity capacity additions expected to continue increasing in the next five years. G20 countries collectively accounted for almost 90% of global cumulative renewable power capacity, demonstrating a concerted effort to triple renewable energy capacity globally by 2030.