We seem to be moving into a new era in energy production where fossil fuels’ popularity is declining even more rapidly as other choices rise. Let’s hope that our new political awareness in BC allows us to get a focus on investment in renewable energy sources.
To this point, I have promoted a recent comment by regular PT commenter Alex Botta.
There is a huge trend becoming apparent with respect to renewables: By the time you hear new news about them, that news is already outdated. BC was only two years ago touting LNG. The wild claims about the industry by supposedly educated cabinet ministers and the (soon to be former) premier seem outrageously naïve with every new report that either condemns the claims with real evidence on actual production data from tight rock and methane release, or dismisses them with the new evidence of the increasing economic power of wind and solar. The NDP-Green government had better pay attention.
Bloomberg New Energy Finance has just released a report on the latest findings on renewables. A picture is just coming into focus that portray fossil fuels as doomed over the next decade, especially in producing electricity. The 2020s will probably be an historical decade of transition.
1. Solar and wind dominate the future of electricity
72% of the $10.2 trillion spent on new power generation worldwide to 2040 will be invested in new wind and solar PV plants.
2. Solar energy’s challenge to coal gets broader
Solar is already at least as cheap as coal in Germany, Australia, the U.S., Spain and Italy. The levelized cost of electricity from solar is set to drop another 66% by 2040.
By 2021, it will be cheaper than coal in China, India, Mexico, the U.K. and Brazil as well.
3. Onshore wind costs fall fast, and offshore falls faster
Onshore wind levelized costs will fall 47% by 2040, thanks to cheaper, more efficient turbines and advanced OPEX regimes. In the same period, offshore wind costs will slide a whopping 71%, helped by experience, competition, and economies of scale.
4. China and India lead in energy investment
They account for 28% and 11% of all investment in power generation to 2040. Just under a third of Asia Pacific’s investment in energy will go to wind, a third to solar, 18% to nuclear and 10% to coal and gas.
5. Batteries and flexibility bolster the reach of renewables
Utility-scale batteries increasingly compete with natural gas to provide system flexibility at times of peak demand. In conjunction with small-scale batteries, this will help renewable energy reach 74% penetration in Germany, 38% in the U.S., 55% in China and 49% in India by 2040.
6. Electric vehicles bolster electricity use
In Europe and the U.S., EVs will account for 13% and 12% of electricity demand by 2040. Charging EVs flexibly, when renewables are generating and wholesale prices are low, will help the system adapt to intermittent solar and wind.
7. Homeowners’ love of solar grows
By 2040, rooftop PV will account for as much as 24% of electricity in Australia, 20% in Brazil, 15% in Germany, 12% in Japan, and 5% in the U.S. and India. This, combined with the growth of large-scale renewables, reduces the need for existing large-scale coal and gas plants.
8. Coal’s point of no return
Sluggish demand, cheap renewables and coal-gas fuel switching slash coal use by 87% in Europe and 45% in the U.S. by 2040, while coal generation continues to grow in China but reaches peak in 2026. A mere 18% of planned new coal power plants will ever get built. That means 369GW of projects stand to be cancelled.
9. Gas is a transition fuel, but not in the way most people think
Gas-fired power sees $804 billion in new investment and 16% more capacity by 2040. But save for the Americas, where gas is plentiful and cheap, gas plants will mainly act as one of the flexible technologies needed to help meet peaks and provide system stability.
10. Global power sector emissions peak in 2026
CO2 emissions from power generation increase by a tenth before peaking in 2026, then falling faster than we previously estimated, lining up with China’s peak coal generation. However, a further $5.3 trillion investment in 3.9TW of zero-carbon capacity would be required to keep the planet on a 2-degrees-Celsius trajectory.
There are many related articles. This is a good one: