Investment in cheap renewables squeezes coal - Smart Energy Decisions

Solar, Sourcing Renewables, Wind  -  June 20, 2018

Investment in renewables squeezes coal

An estimated $11.5 trillion of investment will go into electricity generation between now and 2050, including 85% percent, or $9.8 billion, for wind, solar and other zero-emissions technologies such as hydro and nuclear.

A report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) further forecasts that coal will be increasingly squeezed out of the power generation market over the next three decades as the cost of these renewables plunges and technology improves the flexibility of grids globally.

"Coal emerges as the biggest loser in the long run," said Elena Giannakopoulou, head of energy economics at BNEF. "Beaten on cost by wind and PV for bulk electricity generation, and by batteries and gas for flexibility, the future electricity system will reorganize around cheap renewables."

The report noted that even without tighter environmental rules, renewables will be increasingly attractive to utilities if only because of their falling costs. Building wind and solar farms will become much cheaper by 2040, according to the BNEF estimates, while traditional nuclear and coal projects become more costly.

Better batteries, which allow grid managers to store power for times when it’s neither breezy nor sunny, will allow utilities to take advantage of plunging costs for solar panels and wind turbines. The ability of natural gas plants to work at a few minutes notice means the fuel will become the choice for most utilities wanting guaranteed generation capacity.

Keywords: BNEF

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