Renewables Undulate as Nuclear Power and Fossil Fuels Hold Ground
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Renewables Undulate as Nuclear Power and Fossil Fuels Hold Ground

By Energy CIO Insights | Thursday, July 25, 2019

Nuclear power and fossil fuels have still been neck to neck whereas the renewables have showcased a parabolic growth. The uneven generation of power by the renewables has resulted in dependence on fossil fuels in 2018, causing the highest carbon dioxide emissions rate.

FREMONT, CA: Although natural gas has taken over the top place in the U.S., the reliance on renewable energy sources has increased rapidly over the past decade and is at the cusp of changing the global nuclear energy scenario.

In 2018, nuclear power was accountable for 2,701 Terawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity generation, when compared to 2,480 from renewables and 4,193 TWh from hydropower. While in comparison, coal produced more power than all three categories combined.

However, the growth rates of the various categories of electricity generation convey a vivid story. Over the last decade, from 2007 to 2017, global electricity produced by coal increased at an annual average of 1.7 percent. The Nuclear generation faced a decline in this period annually by 0.4 percent, as a result of Fukushima Daichi Nuclear disaster in 2011. The pathway for hydropower generation formed, leading towards growth at the annual rate of 2.8 percent. The growth rates are representative of mature power sources. With China in the lead, The U.S. remains in the second place globally accounting to 16.6 percent share.

Wind power generation was ahead of solar in global electricity generation in 2018. The wind power generated was 1270 TWh of power, versus 585 TWh for solar energy. It has been recognized that solar power is on a trajectory to outshine wind power during the next decade. 

Nuclear power is fixated ahead of renewables, but almost not. It is gradually losing ground. In 2018, the nuclear lead over renewables was less than 9 percent. Based on current trends, modern renewables will overcome the nuclear power’s margin production reportedly either in the coming year or the next year.

The slingshot growth rate showcased by the renewables is a positive development as it depicts the efforts made to strap on the carbon dioxide emissions. However, renewables have not yet achieved a state at which it can result in causing the demand for fossil fuel to collapse.

Though the global energy consumption rocketed with fossil fuels bearing most of the load, the current renewable energy consumption rate has risen by 71 million metric tons of oil-equivalent in 2018. The global use of coal, oil, and natural gas ricocheted by 276 million metric tons in 2018, which accounts for nearly quadruple of the growth in renewables. As a result, global carbon dioxide emissions rose, to set a new all-time high in 2018.

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