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article imageThe end of the fossil fuel era could be on the horizon

By Karen Graham     Mar 4, 2020 in Environment
The use of fossil fuels such as coal and oil for generating electricity fell in 2019 in the United States, the European Union, and India, at the same time overall power output rose, a turning point for the global energy mix.
Tomas Kaberger, an energy professor at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden said the countries and regions are three of the top four largest producers of energy from fossil fuels, the fourth country being China.
Kaberger, who is also the chair of the executive board for Japan’s Renewable Energy Institute and a member of the board at Swedish utility Vattenfall AB, provided the data that covers over 70 percent of the world’s power generation in 2019.
The data shows that power generation from fossil fuels dropped by 156 terawatt-hours (TWh) from the year before. That is equal to the entire power output of Argentina in 2018.
At the same time, renewable power generation increased at a faster rate than the overall growth in power output for the first time, rising by 297 TWh versus 233 TWh for overall output, Kaberger said.
Created by Aaron Sheldrick using BP Statistical Review data.
Created by Aaron Sheldrick using BP Statistical Review data.
BP statistical review
This is indeed, good news for the planet. “It is economics driving this as low-cost renewable electricity outcompetes against fossil and nuclear power plants,” said Kaberger, according to Reuters.
"New renewables are even cheaper than oil per unit of energy electricity generated and even fuels produced from electricity will outcompete against fossil fuels at increasing speed in transport, heating, and industry," he said, adding, "Peak oil demand is close."
Nuclear generation also increased globally despite 13 reactors closing and only 6 new openings. This was mainly due to old reactors in Japan being put back online that have been idle since the 2011 Fukushima reactor core melts. Renewable growth was the major part, around three-quarters, of the non-fossil growth.
The increase in electricity generation from low cost, low carbon renewable technologies created a victim - fossil fuel energy. With the exception of China, electricity generation from fossil fuels fell everywhere, decreasing by more than 150 TWh YoY. Reductions were spectacular in the EU, the US, and Japan.
Though comparatively lower, the reduction in India was more important as many have predicted that India could end up being a country that would become a major threat to global climate protection efforts.
More about Fossil fuels, end of an era, surge in renewables, Electricity, costcompetitive RE
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