Renewables surpass fossil fuels in growth for the first time.

By Oliver Townsend Jun 25, 2024
Renewable Energy Growth Outpaces Fossil Fuels for the First Time.jpegOrginal image from:

In 2023, new wind and solar installations surpassed all other additions to the global energy mix, marking a significant milestone in the transition towards clean energy. According to the Statistical Review of World Energy, clean energy investments are projected to exceed US$2 trillion in 2024, accounting for two-thirds of global energy investment. This shift towards renewable energy sources reflects a growing global awareness of the need to combat climate change and reduce carbon emissions.

Record Growth in Wind and Solar Energy

Wind and solar energy sources were responsible for 40% of total new energy in 2023, with solar capacity increasing by 67% compared to the previous year. The majority of this growth, totaling 346 gigawatts, came from solar installations, while wind energy accounted for 115 gigawatts. Notably, China played a significant role in driving this expansion, emerging as a major installer of renewable energy technologies.

The Rise of Solar Power

The Economist recently highlighted the emergence of a “Solar Age,” attributing the exponential growth of solar energy capacity to advancements in technology, economics, and supply chains. As solar power continues to gain momentum, experts predict a ten-fold increase in capacity, equivalent to multiplying the world’s nuclear reactor fleet by eight within a short timeframe. This rapid expansion underscores the transformative potential of solar energy in reshaping the global energy landscape.

Investments in Clean Energy

The International Energy Agency (IEA) anticipates that investments in renewable energy technologies will exceed expectations, with total global energy expenditure projected to reach $3 trillion in 2024. Of this amount, $2 trillion will be allocated to clean energy initiatives, with solar photovoltaic technology alone expected to receive investments worth $500 billion. These investments reflect a broader shift towards sustainable energy solutions and a departure from traditional fossil fuel-based infrastructure.

Challenges in Energy Transition

While the transition towards clean energy is promising, challenges remain in areas such as energy efficiency for buildings. Investments in energy efficiency are crucial for accelerating the energy transition, yet current spending levels are deemed insufficient. Additionally, fossil fuel investments continue to rise, with oil and gas companies increasing spending on upstream activities, liquefied natural gas, and coal. Despite progress in clean energy investments, there is a need for greater emphasis on energy efficiency measures to drive meaningful change.

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