Fossil fuel emissions from electricity set to fall-BBC

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By Paul Homewood

h/t Robin Guenier/Jon S

The world will likely use less fossil fuels to produce electricity this year in a “turning point” for planet-friendly energy, a new report says.

It would be the first ever annual drop in the use of coal, oil and gas to generate electricity, outside of a global recession or pandemic.

As a result, less warming gases would be released during energy production.

The authors attribute the expected change to a boom in renewable energy led mainly by China.

Wind and solar now produce 12% of global electricity with enough wind turbines added in 2022 to power almost all of the UK.

Renewables are set to meet all growth in demand this year, the study from energy analysts Ember says.

Making electricity is the single biggest contributor to global warming, responsible for over a third of energy-related carbon emissions in 2021.

So phasing out coal, oil and gas in this sector is seen as critical in helping the world avoid dangerous levels of climate change.

This new study looks at data from countries representing 93% of global electricity demand.

Matt McGrath omits to tell readers that Ember are not “energy analysts”, but a lobby group with the specific aim of “shifting the world to clean electricity”. Any analysis from them should not be taken at face value.

In any event, the BBC is wrong to suggest “It would be the first ever annual drop in the use of coal, oil and gas to generate electricity, outside of a global recession or pandemic”, because fossil fuel generation also dipped between 2018 and 2019:

BP Energy Review

But more importantly, the data shows that wind and solar power are still lagging far behind, running at a 10% share in 2021. While this number will steadily rise in the next few years, it will not make much of a dent in the contribution from fossil fuels.

And the BBC report totally circumvents the very real problems of integrating large amounts of wind and solar power into electricity grids. That is precisely why China is building hundreds of new coal power plants.

According to the BBC:

“We now have reached this next turning point of starting to see a new era of falling fossil fuel power sector emissions. We know that wind and solar are the answer and we’ve just got to get on with a roadmap for building them as quickly as possible,” said Dave Jones, from Ember, one of the report’s authors.

But this is no more than wishful thinking. Although renewable generation will continue to rise, this may not even be enough to meet increased demand, which has certainly been the experience in China lately.

The suggestion that fossil fuels will be “phased out” is ridiculous.