A report from workers’ body the Energy Institute has stated that despite a 13% increase in renewable energy consumption, global fossil fuel dominance is “largely unchanged”.
The Statistical Review of World Energy report revealed that renewable usage in the power sector maintained its strong growth over the last few years. Renewable energies, with the exception of hydropower, accounted for 84% of net electricity growth in the calendar year of 2022.
Likewise, solar capacity construction increased more than ever in 2022, with a 25% increase in generation alongside it. Wind generation too grew by 13.5% over the year. Together, the two renewable sources accounted for 12% of total power generation, a record figure.
Despite this, fossil fuels still accounted for almost 82% of total energy consumption. Furthermore, global greenhouse gas emissions from energy-related industries grew by 0.8%. Energy Institute president Juliet Davenport admitted: “The year 2022 saw some of the worst ever impacts of climate change: the devastating floods affecting millions in Pakistan, the record heat events across Europe and North America. Yet we have to look hard for positive news on the energy transition in this new data.
“Despite further strong growth in wind and solar in the power sector, overall global energy-related greenhouse gas emissions increased again. We are still heading in the opposite direction to that required by the Paris Agreement.”
Coal consumption also saw a boost in the report. While prices reached record levels in 2022, coal consumption rose 0.6% to 161 exajoules (44,722 terawatt-hours), the highest tally since 2014. It was the dominant fuel for generation, with 35.4% of all power coming from coal-firing. This was driven by demand increases of 1% and 4% in China and India, respectively, which offset a decrease in consumption in both North America and Europe, of 6.8% and 3.1% respectively.
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The report also examined a 21% increase in lithium and cobalt production. Essential components of electric vehicle batteries, the two minerals are playing a vital role in the energy transition and the increased production of both is indicative of the increase in renewable power generation.