Global power-production from coal will peak this year as surging deployment of renewables displaces the dirtiest fossil fuel, according to research from Rystad Energy.
Burning coal will produce about 10,373 terawatt-hours of electricity worldwide in 2023, and then slip to 10,332 terawatt-hours next year, according to a Monday report from the Oslo-based research company.
It’s a small shift, but significant.
Coal is the biggest global source of electricity, and curbing emissions from power plants is critical as the world seeks to rein in climate change. Key elected officials, executives and environmentalists are meeting now at the annual United Nations climate summit to hammer out agreements to boost clean energy and limit fossil fuel consumption.
“The drop in total coal generation in 2024 may be small on paper, but it signals the beginning of the renewable energy era in the power market,” Carlos Torres Diaz, Rystad’s senior vice president of renewables and power research, said in a statement. “Coal usage in the power sector is peaking.”
It’s also notable that coal use has been largely flat over the past several years, Dennis Wamsted, an energy analyst at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, said in an interview.
“Are we at the point where we won’t be going up anymore? Yes, it’s clear we are at that point,” he said.
(By Will Wade)