Ember’s next frontier

Ember's co-founder, Phil MacDonald, on our evolving mission and the launch of our new Advisory Board.

Phil MacDonald

Managing Director


27 October 2023 | 2 min read

Three years in

Three years ago in a tiny office in London, it was difficult to imagine this could have happened. Since Ember’s launch just before the pandemic, the team has now grown to more than 50 energy experts, with the majority outside the UK. Many of us met for the first time in Istanbul this autumn to decide how we can grow our impact in the coming years (some of us embarking on multi-day train journeys to get there!) 

Ember global team meet-up

We reflected that from India to Türkiye, from Indonesia to South Korea, we’ve already had an outsized impact in shaping climate policy. Our focus has grown to target two of the world’s most important climate solutions this decade: how to accelerate the transition to clean electricity, and to rapidly cut the methane leaking from coal mines.

Of course, Ember continues to curate the world’s best open dataset on global electricity generation, with monthly generation now updated for 76 countries, mostly with less than a 3 day lag on when the data is available. And uniquely, we combine this best-in-class data with expert research and insights, and make sure policymakers and the media have direct access to the facts on the clean energy transition.

The power sector is more than a third of the global emissions problem, but as wind and solar grow, emissions-free electricity has the potential to clean up many other major sectors, including through electric vehicles and electrifying the heating system. Some of the renewables growth will be used to displace coal and gas generation this decade, but over half will be used for growing electricity demand.

As such, Ember will embark on new work in 2024 to open up more data on electrification, and release new insights to ensure policymakers are excited by the enormous opportunity ahead.

Next month we will be launching a new organisational mission statement to reflect this next step for our work, as we expand our aim to shift the world to a clean, electrified energy future.

Launch of Ember’s new Advisory Board

Another exciting update for Ember is that today we’re launching our new Advisory Board. Consisting of international climate and energy experts, they’ll be advising us on our key reports and shaping our organisation strategy to have an even greater impact on climate policy. The Advisory Board consists of the following (and we’ll be adding further experts soon):

What have we achieved?

Many decision makers rely on yesterday’s data and insights to guide their energy transitions. This makes them too cautious. As a result, the world is not building clean power fast enough, and remains over-reliant on expensive coal and gas.

Over the last few years, Ember’s data, analysis and advocacy has changed energy policy around the world. Our work has directly influenced India’s clean electricity transition plans; definitively changed the debate on the European gas crisis and the RePowerEU policy that resulted from it; and shaped new coal mine methane regulations in the EU Methane Strategy and Australia’s Safeguard Mechanism. Ember’s rapid power sector modelling ability has launched the political conversation on interconnection across Poland and CEE, and we led the campaign that secured the UK’s commitment to a clean power sector for 2035, alongside helping to put a global tripling of renewables on the map.

I’m pleased to share our Impact Report for the first half of 2023. It shows again a huge step up in our reach and impact.

I’m immensely proud of the team’s work to make Ember a significant international champion for a clean, electrified economy. Our rigorous data and analysis is demonstrating that the world is close to achieving the first structural fall in power sector emissions, while continuing to raise awareness of the huge potential to deliver cost-effective methane reductions from coal mines. 

Combined with electrification of sectors including transport and heat, humanity can peak total emissions and drive them into a rapid decline this decade – and Ember will be driving that acceleration every step of the way.