The plunging cost of wind and solar power mean they will be cheaper than coal-fired generation in many countries within five years, and will provide a third of the world’s electricity in about 25 years, a leading analysis firm has predicted. It gives a very different view of the energy outlook from the projections set out by large oil companies such as ExxonMobil, demonstrating the uncertainties that exist in any assessment of possible futures for the industry. Bloomberg New Energy Finance, which compiles the most widely-used data on investment in renewables, says unsubsidised solar power costs less than electricity from new coal-fired plants in the US, Germany and Australia, and by 2021 will reach that tipping point in other countries including China, India, Britain and Mexico. In its New Energy Outlook report, published on Thursday, BNEF predicts that by 2040, 34 per cent of the world’s electricity will come from wind and solar power, up from 5 per cent today. By contrast, Exxon’s most recent forecast is that all renewable sources excluding hydro power will provide just 11 per cent of the world’s electricity in 2040.
FT 15th June 2017 read more »
Wind and solar power will generate a third of global electricity needs by 2040 thanks to more than $6 trillion of investment, forecasts suggest. Renewable energy sources will dominate investment over the coming decades as costs fall, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). It predicts that by 2040 solar energy costs will have dropped by 66 per cent, offshore wind by 71 per cent and onshore wind by 47 per cent. As a result, renewables will account for almost three quarters of the $10.2 trillion that is expected to be invested in new power generation around the world by 2040 to meet a forecast 58 per cent increase in demand. The rising economies of China and India will be responsible for the lion’s share of the total investment, accounting for 28 per cent and 11 per cent respec tively, the group said in its annual outlook report. Wind and solar should account for 48 per cent of the installed capacity worldwide, BNEF forecasts, up from 12 per cent now. Because they generate only when the wind blows or sun shines, that would equate to 34 per cent of power generation, against 5 per cent today.
Times 16th June 2017 read more »
Edward Lucas (The Economist) As consumers are forced to pay more for their gas and electricity, disruptive technologies offer a cheaper alternative. Big decisions made by big companies. That used to be the way the energy industry worked. Extracting oil, gas and coal, and turning it into power, involved costly projects that lasted for decades. Not any more. The era of energy dinosaurs is over. The mammals are on the march. The clearest example so far comes from the United States, where technological change and the liberalisation of energy exports have put nimble, innovative shalemen in the driving seat of the global hydrocarbons industry. Only a decade ago, Saudi Arabia was the “swing producer”, moving the world oil price with a twist of a sheikhly wrist on a stopcock. Now the Saudi-led Opec oil cartel is impotent. Instead of production determining the price, it’s vice versa, just as in most other com modities. Restrictions on output are futile: they simply hand market share to competitors. From a low point in 2008, US crude oil production has already doubled, to a record 10 million barrels a day. The coal industry is collapsing. One reason is head-on competition from cheap gas (gas-fired power stations are far cheaper to build than coal ones). But coal is ailing even in countries without abundant natural gas. China and India are turning away from the black stuff, partly to stem public fury at air pollution, but also because of the tumbling price of solar energy, down 40 per cent in the past year in India. A solar electricity provider recently won a supply auction there with a bid of 2.62 rupees (3.2p) per kilowatt-hour (kWh) – undercutting coal-fired power by a fifth. The economics of renewable energy are devastating for the incumbents. James Sprinz of Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), a research company, notes that the cost of capacity in lithium-ion batteries is down by nearly three-quarters since 2010. Cheap storage means that renewable energy can be used whenever it is needed.
Times 16th June 2017 read more »
A major new survey has pointed to the inevitable decline in coal generation, as the ongoing plunge in wind and solar costs make those technologies significantly cheaper than even refurbished coal-fired generators. The report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance comes in the middle of the debate around Australia’s energy future, prompted by the Finkel Review, and attempts by the Coalition government to find a way to prolong the life of Australia’s coal fleet. But the BNEF analysis suggests that this will be futile and counterproductive, and more expensive. The costs of solar will continue to plunge to around $US26/MWh ($A34/MWh) by 2040, and wind will not be far off, at $US32/MWh.
Renew Economy 15th June 2017 read more »