Cheap gas, coal won't hobble renewables: energy report

June 13, 2016 by Marlowe Hood
Renewables are set to attract $7.8 trillion (6.9 trillion euros) by 2040, nearly four times as much as carbon-based power over the same period, the New Energy Outlook 2016 forecast said

Weak coal and gas prices will not stop record investment in renewables over the coming decades as the cost of generating clean energy drops, a key energy report said Monday.

Renewables are set to attract $7.8 trillion (6.9 trillion euros) by 2040, nearly four times as much as carbon-based power over the same period, the New Energy Outlook 2016 forecast said.

The impact of cheap gas and coal will be offset, it projected, by drops of 41 and 60 percent, respectively, in the price of power from wind and solar panels.

Compared to a year ago, the report projects "significantly lower" coal and , said Jon Moore, chief executive of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the research unit which conducted the study.

"But, strikingly, (the report) still shows rapid transition towards clean power."

The shift, however, to a low-carbon sector will not happen quickly enough to keep global warming below two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), much less the more ambitious goal embraced by the world's nations last December, the analysts warned.

The Paris Agreement calls for capping Earth's average surface temperature at "well below" 2.0C to stave off severe climate impacts.

To achieve even the two-degree target, additional investment of $5.3 trillion in zero-carbon power—on top of the projected $7.8 trillion—would be needed by 2040, the report concludes.

The energy sector accounts for two-thirds of the that drive .

Currently, 80 percent of global energy consumption is drawn from fossil fuels.

High energy demands in India—which, despite a big push towards solar, continues to rely heavily on dirty coal—are forecast to nearly quadruple in the next quarter century

From a climate change perspective, the annual report is a "good news/bad news" compendium of energy trends.

India holds the key

The encouraging surge in renewables—which today account for only a small slice of energy consumed—is balanced by the fact that fossil fuel power will still pull in more than $2.1 trillion (1.9 trillion euros) in investments by 2040, mainly in emerging economies.

China's slowing economy and retreat from coal means that CO2 emissions from the world's top carbon polluter may peak as early as 2025, five years earlier than Beijing promised.

At the same time, however, energy demands in India—which, despite a big push towards solar, continues to rely heavily on dirty coal—are forecast to nearly quadruple in the next quarter century.

"That makes India the key to the future global emissions trend," the authors said in a statement.

In Europe, renewables will dominate, generating 70 percent of the continent's power by 2040, up from 32 percent in 2015.

In the US, the share of wind, solar, hydro and other zero-carbon energy sources will jump from 14 percent last year to 44 percent in 2040.

At the same time, natural gas' slice of the energy pie will slip from 33 to 31 percent, despite a boom in fracking.

A surge in electric cars will add some eight percent to global electricity demand, the forecast.

By 2040, 35 percent of light-duty vehicles sold in the world will be electric, some 41 million cars in all.

Explore further: Developing nations became top investors in renewables in 2015: UN

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nathanielrhamrick
3 / 5 (2) Jun 13, 2016
Yikes. They dug their own graves...
aksdad
1.8 / 5 (5) Jun 13, 2016
In Europe, renewables will dominate, generating 70 percent of the continent's power by 2040, up from 32 percent in 2015

I don't think so. First of all, where did you get the 32 percent from? EIA and Eurostats both show it's actually around 12% to 15%, close to what the U.S. generates:

http://ec.europa....YB15.png

I'd love to hear someone who actually understands the economics of energy production defend the claim that Europe will generate 70% and the U.S. will generate 44% from renewables by 2040.

Until inexpensive, high-density storage of electricity becomes available or someone invents the Mr. Fusion home energy reactor, renewables will make up only a fraction of total energy production.
greenonions
4 / 5 (4) Jun 13, 2016
aksdad
EIA and Eurostats both show it's actually around 12% to 15%
The primary production of renewable energy within the EU-28 in 2013 was 192 million tonnes of oil equivalent (toe) — a 24.3 % share of total primary energy production from all sources

From - http://ec.europa....findings
unrealone1
1.7 / 5 (6) Jun 13, 2016
There is not enough "land" in India to supply the country with solar panels.
14,000 Idle Wind Turbines a Testament to Failed Energy Policies.
http://www.thenew...policies
$4 Million for a 2 mega watt windmill. 2200 megawatt coal power station. Vrs 1100 windmills
$4 billion to replace 2200 megawatt coal power station every 20 years??
greenonions
4.2 / 5 (5) Jun 13, 2016
There is not enough "land" in India to supply the country with solar panels.
Happen to have a source for that gem do you unrealone1?
Lord_jag
3.9 / 5 (7) Jun 13, 2016
I love this. Oh renewables are SOOOO much money. Just let me list off some astronomical number and gawk at how large that is.

Except the lifetime costs when added up for any other technology is higher.

Nuclear? Well count a million years of hiding that deadly toxic waste.

Coal? Can you just ignore the costs associated with digging hundreds of thousands of tonnes of coal from the ground, then transporting it across the country at huge cost just to burn it in a huge building? Who could manage that feat? Why is it that this seems reasonable, but installing a few renewable sources is an insurmountable task that shouldn't even be attempted? And who's paying all the costs associated with health affects of air pollution, climate issues aside?

Like... We all accept the exorbitant methods we use to maintain the status quo, but never even once think there might be a much easier way.
kochevnik
3 / 5 (6) Jun 13, 2016
There is not enough "land" in India to supply the country with solar panels.
Do not need land. Use roofs
Da Schneib
4.4 / 5 (7) Jun 13, 2016
There is not enough "land" in India to supply the country with solar panels.
Happen to have a source for that gem do you unrealone1?
I'm going with "no:"

https://en.wikipe...in_India

With about 300 clear, sunny days in a year, India's theoretically calculated solar energy incidence on its land area alone, is about 5,000 trillion kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year (or 5 EWh/yr). ... The solar energy available in a year exceeds the possible energy output of all fossil fuel energy reserves in India.
Heck, at that rate India could provide all the power used by the whole world with less than 1/100 of their land area.

They just make stuff up, @greenos. They've been lying since 1975.
Max5000
3 / 5 (4) Jun 14, 2016
aksdad,

Actually those numbers for Europe and the US are true. See report. But it depends on the total you count. Many statistics count 'only' the total electrical energy used. So with Europe having so incredible much wind, solar, hydro, etc electrical energy it is already a very large share compared to the US of total electrical energy. And with European countries now building hundreds of extremely!!! large windparcs at sea (among many other mayor efforts) they will boost that number further in the coming years. The US just has much less renewable energy compared to total electrical energy used.

If you count the total energy used (thus including all forms of fossil energy) then yes the number is still much lower as seen/used in those 'total energy' statistics. Non the less the direction that Europe and the world is taking is clear. Renewable, independent energy is the future. And producers of Oil/Gas/Shale gas in Russia, the US, Saudi-Arabia, Norway, Qatar, Etc are not!
gkam
2 / 5 (8) Jun 15, 2016
We are moving away from Big Power and Big Money here, and starting to produce our own power. Decentralization is upon us now, and it is interesting to see the conservatives who say they treasure independence fight PV and wind power, which can make us independent.

I think they actually want a Big Brother with a Big Fist to run the nation.

I think they worship power over others.

I think they must be voted out of office.
Edenlegaia
1 / 5 (2) Jun 15, 2016
Nice previsions. It adds a shocking bit of prophecy, but well, let's be optimistic, yes?
Still, Europe, 70% of renewable in 2040? Count on 50%. Hardly, still.

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