Falling solar and wind prices have led to new power deals across the world despite investment in renewables falling. Renewable energy capacity around the world was boosted by a record amount in 2016 and delivered at a markedly lower cost, according to new global data – although the total financial investment in renewables actually fell. The greater “bang-for-buck” resulted from plummeting prices for solar and wind power and led to new power deals in countries including Denmark, Egypt, India, Mexico and the United Arab Emirates all being priced well below fossil fuel or nuclear options. Analysts warned that the US’s withdrawal from the Paris climate change agreement, announced last week by Donald Trump, risked the US being left behind in the fast-moving transition to a low-carbon economy. But they also warned that the green transition was still not happening fast enough to avoid the worst impacts of global warming, especially in the transport and heating sectors. The new renewable energy capacity installed worldwide in 2016 was 161GW, a 10% rise on 2015 and a new record, according to REN21, a network of public and private sector groups covering 155 nations and 96% of the world’s population.
The new record capacity cost $242bn, a 23% reduction in investment compared to 2015, and renewables investment remained larger than for all fossil fuels. Subsidies for green energy, however, are still much lower than those for coal, oil and gas. New solar power provided the biggest boost – half of all new capacity – followed by wind power at a third and hydropower at 15%. It is the first year that the new solar capacity added has been greater than any other electricity-producing technology.
Guardian 6th June 2017 read more »
Pavegen is part of a wave of innovation as concerns over climate change and air pollution catalyse investment in clean, efficient ways of powering societies. Growth in renewable energy is often associated with wind farms on remote hillsides, yet Pavegen highlights an increasing focus on cities as the frontline in the push for alternatives to fossil fuels. Cities account for 70 per cent of global energy consumption and a similar proportion of greenhouse gas emissions. Many city governments are going further than national administrations in promoting green energy. San Francisco, Frankfurt, Vancouver and San Diego are among those with targets to have 100 per cent renewable electricity systems by dates over the next three decades. Pavegen’s “smart tiles” will make a modest contribution to the green revolution. Every footstep produces about 3 joules of energy — enough to keep a low-power LED lamp near the pavement lit for 30 seconds. A busy street would be lit constantly while a quiet one would receive “on demand” lighting as a lone pedestrian passed. Surplus power can be stored in batteries for future use. Pavegen’s technology is part of a wider trend towards small-scale, “off grid” electricity generation in cities. Rooftop solar panels are becoming a common feature of new housing and commercial buildings, while many local authorities are investing in biomass plants which produce electricity and heat from waste.
FT 7th June 2017 read more »