Solar, wind to power almost 50% of grid by 2050 - Smart Energy Decisions

GHG Emissions, Solar, Sourcing Renewables, Wind  -  June 19, 2019

Solar, wind to power almost 50% of grid by 2050

Falling cost for wind, solar and battery technology will result in a grid nearly half-powered by the two fast-growing renewable energy sources by 2050, according to the latest projections from BloombergNEF (BNEF), which sees these technologies ensuring that the power sector contributes its share toward keeping global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius, at least until 2030.

BNEF’s New Energy Outlook 2019 (NEO) also reports that wind or solar now represent the least expensive option for adding new power-generating capacity in approximately two-thirds of the world. Electricity demand is set to increase 62%, resulting in global generating capacity almost tripling between 2018 and 2050. This will attract $13.3 trillion in new investment, including $5.3 trillion for wind and $4.2 trillion for solar. In addition to the spending on new generating plants, $840 billion will go to batteries and $11.4 trillion to grid expansion.

The NEO report shows coal falling from 37% today to 12% by 2050, while oil as a power-generating source is virtually eliminated.  Wind and solar grow from 7% of generation today to 48% by 2050.  The contributions of hydro, natural gas, and nuclear remain roughly level on a percentage basis.

The projected growth of renewables through 2030 indicates that many nations can follow a path for the next decade and a half that is compatible with keeping the increase in world temperatures to 2 degrees or less. And they can do this without introducing additional direct subsidies for existing technologies such as solar and wind.

“The days when direct supports such as feed-in tariffs are needed are coming to an end,” said Elena Giannakopoulou, head of energy economics at 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. 


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