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article imageWind and solar to make up 50 percent of energy mix by 2050

By Karen Graham     Jun 21, 2019 in Business
A stunning new report released on Tuesday reveals that renewables are now the cheapest form of new electricity generation across two-thirds of the world - cheaper than both new coal and new natural gas power.
BloombergNEF (BNEF) released its latest New Energy Outlook - putting this investment opportunity at $13.3 trillion dollars with wind and solar taking $5.3 trillion and $4.2 trillion respectively.
The key driver is the falling cost of these sources of electricity across the globe. BNEF notes that just five years ago, renewables were a cheap source of power for only one percent of the world. Today, renewables are the cheapest source of electrical power for two-thirds of the world.
Research shows that since 2010, wind power has dropped 49 percent in cost and solar plummeted 85 percent. BNEF is projecting that by 2030, it will be cheaper to build and operate new renewable power plants than it will be to just keep operating existing fossil fuel plants — even in the United States.
Czech-based coal mining and energy group EPH will buy two plants  a gas-fired facility in Ballylumfo...
Czech-based coal mining and energy group EPH will buy two plants, a gas-fired facility in Ballylumford and a coal-fired one in Kilroot
Barbara LABORDE, AFP/File
Impact on fossil fuels will be dramatic
Forbes is reporting that coal's share of the global mix will plummet from 37 percent to 12 percent, while oil-fired power plants will be effectively eliminated. The combined solar and wind mix will jump from 7 percent to 48 percent.
The increase in the use of variable, weather-dependent renewable energy sources will require huge investments in battery storage additions. About $480 billion is needed. The storage batteries are essential to stabilizing the electrical grid and realigning peaks in demand and peak generation.
“Our power system analysis reinforces a key message from previous New Energy Outlooks – that solar photovoltaic modules, wind turbines, and lithium-ion batteries are set to continue on aggressive cost reduction curves, of 28 percent, 14 percent, and 18 percent respectively for every doubling in global installed capacity,” said Matthias Kimmel, NEO 2019 lead analyst.
“By 2030, the energy generated or stored and dispatched by these three technologies will undercut electricity generated by existing coal and gas plants almost everywhere,” he added.
Windfarm island as envisaged by TenneT  the Dutch equivalent of the UK’s National Grid.
Windfarm island as envisaged by TenneT, the Dutch equivalent of the UK’s National Grid.
TenneT
Bearing the cost of renewable energy
Based on price drops in the renewables sector, the world is expected to invest $4.2 trillion in solar power generation, while global investment in wind power will likely hit $5.3 trillion in the next three decades.
For the time being, the growth in renewables has been backed by direct subsidies, investment tax credits and certificate schemes, and this has been necessary, but “The days when direct supports such as feed-in tariffs are needed are coming to an end,” said Elena Giannakopoulou, head of energy economics, BNEF.
“Still, to achieve this level of transition and de-carbonization, other policy changes will be required – namely, the reforming of power markets to ensure wind, solar and batteries are remunerated properly for their contributions to the grid,” said Giannakopoulou.
As BNEF puts it, we are “ending the era of fossil fuel dominance in the power sector.”
More about energy mix, wind and solar, 50 percent, Renewables, Investment
 
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