The continued increase in global use of renewable energies could provide a “pivotal moment” following the Covid-19 pandemic, Kallanish Energy reports.
Global consumption of renewables, including solar, wind and biofuels, increased by 3.2 exajoules (EJ) in 2019, a growth of 12.2% year-on-year. Renewables accounted for 40% of the global growth in primary energy last year, surpassing any other fuel source.
Renewables’ share in power generation also overtook nuclear for the first time, increasing to 10.4%.
The figures were recorded by UK supermajor BP in its Statistical Review of World Energy 2019 report, published on Wednesday.
“As the world emerges from the Covid-19 pandemic, it feels like we are at a pivotal moment,” said CEO Bernard Looney. “Net-zero can be achieved by 2050. The zero-carbon energies and technologies exist today – the challenge is to use them at pace and scale, and I remain optimistic that we can make this happen.”
China recorded the largest growth consumption of any nation during 2019, up 14.2% y-o-y to a total of 6.6 EJ. However, this marks a slower rate of growth than in 2017 and 2018.
Elsewhere, North America and Japan recorded increases of 5.9% and 24.1% y-o-y respectively. These were the largest increases outside of China.
Wind provided the largest contribution to renewables growth in 2019 at 1.4 EJ, followed closely by solar at 1.2 EJ. Meanwhile, biofuel consumption grew by 6% last year.
Sustained growth in renewables suggests that progress is being made towards reducing carbon emissions. However, the BP report also noted that carbon emissions from energy use grew by 0.5% in 2019, despite the increase in renewables consumption.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) stated in early June that the transition to clean energy is failing to keep pace with sustainability goals and the Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated the situation.
“This is not the time to take our foot off the pedal,” said IEA’s executive director Fatih Birol. “Our latest findings make clear the urgent need for governments to do more to foster the growth of these technologies, which can create jobs, stimulate economic growth and also help us accelerate transitions to cleaner energy systems.”
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