Presently, the global electricity consumption is predominantly powered by fossil fuels, accounting for nearly 61% of the total energy mix, with coal leading at approximately 36%, followed closely by gas at roughly 22%. Nearly 39% of the world's electricity consumption is driven by low-carbon energy sources. Of the low-carbon energy sources, hydropower provides the largest share at 15%, nuclear energy follows at more than 9%, wind offers a slightly lower 7.5%, meanwhile solar energy contributes 4.5% and biofuels the least at roughly 2%.
To increase low-carbon electricity generation globally, it would be beneficial to study and adapt practices from countries that have made significant strides in utilizing such energy sources. France, Slovakia and Ukraine, for instance, have all achieved over 50% electricity generation from nuclear power - a milestone that demonstrates the feasibility of high nuclear production. In terms of wind energy, Denmark and Uruguay have proven successful, achieving 59% and 41% respectively in their electricity production. Lastly, the potential of solar energy should not be overlooked, with Greece, Chile, and Australia all generating close to a fifth of their electricity from this source. Global strategies could include expanding nuclear power capabilities, investing in wind infrastructure, as well as increasing research and development for solar technologies.
The journey of low-carbon electricity in the world evolved over decades. In the 1980s, there was a notable increase in hydropower and nuclear electricity generation reaching a peak of nearly 242 TWh for hydropower in 1980, and a high of almost 291 TWh for nuclear energy in 1985. A slight decline was noticed in the early 2000s. In the 2010s, there was again a renewed interest in hydropower, culminating in an increase to about 196 TWh by 2010. From 2017, substantial strides have been made in wind and solar power, culminating in a wind energy output of 295 TWh and solar output of about 254 TWh in 2022. However, one critical setback has been the significant drop in nuclear electricity generation by 190 TWh in 2022, indicating a need to address challenges hindering its effective output.