An analysis of 2022 data from 78 countries, representing 93% of global electricity demand, shows that despite six Indian states ranking above the global average in wind and solar power generation, India generated 77% of its electricity from fossil fuels
A new report launched by energy think-tank Ember found that wind and solar reached a record 12% of global electricity in 2022, up from 10% in 2021. According to the report, the combined share of wind and solar reached 9% (165 Terawatt hour or TWh) in India in 2022. Six Indian states were above the global average in 2022, led by Goa (78%), Rajasthan (36%), Gujarat (30%) and Karnataka (28%).
The fourth annual Global Electricity Review presented electricity data from 2022 across 78 countries, representing 93% of global electricity demand. The data revealed that more than 60 countries now generate more than 10% of their electricity from wind and solar.
For the eighteenth consecutive year, solar power has maintained its position as the fastest growing source of global electricity with a year-on-year growth of 24%, adding enough electricity to power all of South Africa. Wind generation increased by 17% in 2022, enough to power almost all of the UK. In India, while solar generation showed a remarkable increase of 39% (+27 TWh), growth in wind power was weaker at 2.9% (+2 TWh).
India: Fast-rising power demand requires clean power growth to pick up pace
The report found that the growth in wind and solar generation in 2022 saw 80% rise in global electricity demand. However, the rise in wind and solar generation in India was only enough to meet a quarter of the increase in demand.
Up by 7.2%, India’s power demand increase outpaced its average annual demand growth rate in the past decade (+5.7%) amid an economic rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic. This was three times higher than the global average of 2.5% and resulted in a corresponding increase in fossil fuel generation by 5.8%.
In 2022, India generated 77% of its electricity from fossil fuels. Coal had the largest share at 74%, followed by gas at 2.7%, and other fossil fuels at 0.1%, added the report.
In comparison, global increases in fossil fuels were limited. In spite of the global gas crisis and fears of a return to coal, the rise in wind and solar limited the increase in global coal generation, which rose by 1.1%. The report found that global gas power generation fell very slightly (-0.2%) in 2022.
Overall, that still meant that global power sector emissions increased by 1.3% in 2022, reaching an all-time high. India’s emissions rose even faster, increasing by 6.4% year-on-year and adding 70 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, almost half of the global increase (+160 million tonnes).
Commenting on ways to pace up clean power generation, Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis’ director, South Asia, Vibhuti Garg, said, “India has made remarkable progress in its electricity transition journey with the share of renewable energy increasing in total installed capacity. However, the share of renewable energy in total generation also needs to increase at an accelerated pace. For this, India needs to scale up deployment of flexible generation sources, modernise and digitalise its grid and also build in price signals through time of day pricing. Furthermore, policy certainty is key to boost investor confidence as India needs around US$400-500 billion of capital to meet its 2030 clean energy target.”
Global power sector emissions have peaked: Experts
The report forecast that last year may be the ‘peak’ of electricity emissions and the final year of fossil power growth, with clean power meeting all demand growth in 2023. As a result, stated the report, there would be a small fall in fossil generation (-0.3%) in 2023, with larger falls in subsequent years as wind and solar deployment accelerates.
According to modelling by the International Energy Agency, the electricity sector needs to move from being the highest emitting sector to being the first sector to reach net-zero by 2040 in order to achieve economy-wide net zero by 2050. This would mean wind and solar reaching 41% of global electricity by 2030, compared to 12% in 2022.
Ember’s senior electricity analyst, Małgorzata Wiatros-Motyka, said, “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 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.”