By - Jim Vess

Global renewable energy set to increase 50 percent in next five years led by solar

Energize Weekly, October 30, 2019

The world’s total renewable generation is set to grow by 50 percent or 1,200 gigawatts (GW) between 2019 and 2024 driven by solar installations, according to an International Energy Agency (IEA) market report.

Photovoltaic (PV) solar is projected to account for 60 percent of the new capacity as a result of declining costs and government policies promoting renewable energy, the agency said.

While wind generation makes up just 10 percent of new generation, a second IEA report projects that future increases in offshore wind could be a large source of generation.

Renewable generation’s share of overall global power generation is set to rise to 30 percent in 2024 from 26 percent today.

“Renewables are already the world’s second largest source of electricity, but their deployment still needs to accelerate if we are to achieve long-term climate, air quality and energy access goals,” said Fatih Birol, the IEA’s executive director, said in a statement.

Distributed solar generation, rather than utility-scale installations, is expected to make up nearly half the growth in the PV market with commercial and industrial arrays accounting for three-quarters of capacity.

“This is because economies of scale combined with better alignment of PV supply and electricity demand enable more self-consumption and bigger savings on electricity bills in the commercial and industrial sectors,” IEA said.

Still, residential rooftop solar systems are projected to more than double to 100 million over the five-year period, with top markets on a per capita basis including Australia, Belgium, Austria, the Netherlands and California.

The market report noted that distributed PV systems in homes, commercial buildings and industry have nearly tripled since 2014.

Renewable electricity used for heating is expected to increase by 40 percent, and renewable forms of heating will rise by 20 percent between 2019 and 2024. “The heat and power sectors become increasingly interconnected,” the agency said.

Offshore wind generation could be a big spur to future renewable energy deployment, IEA said in a study on offshore resources – forecasting a potential fifteenfold jump in capacity and $1 trillion in investment by 2040.

There are almost 20 gigawatts (GW) of offshore capacity in the European Union (EU) with that set to rise to 130 GW by 2040. If the EU tightens greenhouse gas emissions standards, that would jump to about 180 GW, making it the region’s largest electricity source.

IEA said that China and the United States are also seen as promising emerging markets for offshore wind.

A Bloomberg New Energy Finance market study said the prices for offshore wind have dropped 32 percent in the past year and 12 percent in the last six months with a price of $78 a megawatt-hour (MWh) for the second half of 2019.

Onshore wind prices were down 6 percent to $47 a MWh, and PV solar prices dropped 11 percent to $51 a MWh, according to Bloomberg.

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