Updated February 2023
Chart 4 shows the share of electricity from low carbon fuels (nuclear, hydro, wind & solar) peaked at 36% in 1995, coinciding with COP13.
Over the following 17 years from 1996 to 2012, electricity generation by fossil fuels gained share, mainly due to gas, and the declining share of nuclear and hydro. The share of low-carbon fuels decreased to a minimum of 29.6% in 2012. This trend then reversed due to the share of wind and solar becoming significant, but the share of electricity generation by low carbon fuels in every subsequent year remained lower than the 1995 peak.
The outcome after 26 years since COP1 is that electricity generation by fossil fuels and low carbon fuels have both lost a 1% share to the categories ‘Geothermal, Biomass and Other Renewables’ and ‘Other’.
Trends of absolute values are shown below.
The decline of fossil fuels in 2009, shown in chart 7, was unintentional, due to the Global Financial Crisis4, and in 2019 and 2020 due to COVID. Chart 8 shows this is dictated by coal fired power generation, rather than gas. The rebound in 2021 reveals the world’s priorities.
- BP does not fully account for biofuels, and these may not be carbon-neutral, as explained at https://www.worldenergydata.org/biofuels/(↩)(↩)(↩)(↩)(↩)(↩)(↩)(↩)