For years, those advocating a clean energy revolution have faced two undeniable barriers: the relatively high cost of renewables and, for most renewable technologies, their intermittency. As long as these barriers remained in place, the penetration of renewable energy generation would remain constrained. As we explore in the latest issue of our Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index, the renewable energy sector is, finally, breaking free. We find falling costs in the offshore wind sector beginning to deliver subsidy-free clean power, at scale, across northern Europe. With the right conditions — including a little help with transmission costs — developers are confident that the next generation of offshore turbines will be able to pay their way without government support. This has been a remarkable story, where the industry has rapidly refined its technology and slashed costs. It shows what is possible with supportive policy and a long-term vision. A parallel process is taking place in energy storage, albeit with somewhat different drivers. Here, the possibilities presented by electric vehicles have driven enormous investment in battery technology, leading to dramatic price declines. This is enabling battery storage to insert itself into a growing number of niches within power generation, distribution and supply.
Renew Economy 17th May 2017 read more »