We are living through a green energy revolution. The cost of renewable energy is falling, year on year, at a remarkable rate. Every year, the asset management firm Lazard releases its “levelised cost of energy analysis”, comparing the per-kilowatt-hour cost of different methods of energy production. The figures are remarkable. In its latest release, from November 2018, it finds that the cost of photovoltaic (solar) energy has fallen by 13 per cent in a single year. Onshore wind has fallen by seven per cent. That is even when you take green subsidies into account. This is extraordinary progress. And this year, the firm says, “we have reached an inflection point where, in some cases, it is more cost effective to build and operate new alternative energy projects than to maintain existing conventional generation plants”. To repeat: it is sometimes cheaper to simply stop using your coal or oil plant and to build a new onshore wind or solar power plant instead. And, thanks to advances in storage technology, especially lithium-ion batteries, you can use that energy even when the wind isn’t blowing or the sun isn’t shining. Once it becomes cheaper to build new wind farms than to continue to run your coal plant, then the companies that don’t do that will start to get outcompeted. The point at which good intentions coincide with financial incentives is the point at which real progress will be made on climate change.
Business Green 22nd Jan 2019 read more »
Transition to a world run entirely on clean energy – together with the implementation of natural climate solutions – is the only way to halt climate change and keep the global temperature rise below 1.5°C, according to another significant study. A research team from the University of Technology Sydney, the German Aerospace Center and the University of Melbourne has developed a new climate model to solve the global climate crisis. The researchers claim their construct is the “most detailed energy model to date”, as it provides data on 72 regional energy grids operating in hourly increments until 2050, along with a comprehensive assessment of renewable resources. The result, they claim, provides a roadmap for hitting the targets set by the 2016 Paris climate agreement. The researchers also claim their model, unlike previous efforts which were not based on negative emission technologies, is the first to achieve the necessary negative emissions through natural climate solutions. The solutions required, according to the scientists, include a transition to a world energy system based on 100% renewable energy by 2050, and the restoration of degraded forests and other lands. “Citing a growing body of research, we show that using land restoration efforts to meet negative emissions requirements, along with a transition to 100 per cent renewable energy by 2050, gives the world a good chance of staying below the 1.5°C target,” said researcher Malte Meinshausen. Christian Breyer – professor of solar economy at Finland’s Lappeenranta University of Technology – explained how a 100% renewables model is not only technically feasible but also the cheapest and safest option to fight climate change. With solar and storage at its core, the future energy system envisaged by Breyer and his team will not only stop coal, but also nuclear and fossil gas, while seeing solar reach a share of around 70% of power consumption by 2050.
PV Magazine 22nd Jan 2019 read more »