Tuesday, 24 October, 2017

Cheap solar energy the fastest growing new power source

Canada's renewable energy growth projections scaled back after Ontario scraps clean energy program: Report "New era" for solar power as growth outpaced all other fuels in 2016
Sammy Stanley | 05 October, 2017, 00:33

That's according to a new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA), which also notes that " renewables accounted for nearly two-thirds of net new power capacity around the world" past year.

Solar energy was the fastest-growing source of electric power a year ago, a new report said on Wednesday, amid the "birth of a new era" for the reneweable energy sector.

Predicting for the next five years, it said that global renewable electricity generation would grow by as much as total current consumption of China, India and Germany combined.

"The solar PV story is a Chinese story", said Paolo Frankl, head of the IEA's renewable energy division.

The US is the second largest market for renewables, but there is uncertainty in the future over federal tax reforms, worldwide trade and energy policy, the report said.

"What we are witnessing is the birth of a new era in solar PV (photovoltaic)", IEA executive director, Fatih Birol, said in a new report.

China's push towards solar energy stems from the country's notoriously poor air quality, and in the country's 13th five-year plan, it announced an intention to increase the share of non-fossil energy to 15% by 2020. Total solar PV capacity by then would exceed the combined total power capacities of India and Japan today, the IEA said. "We expect that solar PV capacity growth will be higher than any other renewable technology through 2022".

The report stressed the need for the developing Asia region and sub-Saharan Africa to step up their investment in renewables, particularly off-grid solar appliances to reach low-income populations.

India's moves to address the financial health of its utilities and tackle grid-integration issues drive a more optimistic forecast, according to IEA.

Globally, China and India lead renewable capacity growth projections.

By 2022, China is predicted to produce over 360 GW of green energy, representing 40 percent of the world's total output, according to the report. With this, India will match the USA, becoming the joint second-largest growth market after China. Biofuels will still account for over 90% of renewable energy in road transport by 2022. "Solar power is clearly the most important new clean energy source, with more new capacity added in 2016 than dirty coal", said Jan Erik Saugestad, CEO of Storebrand Asset Management. As a whole, renewables represented almost two-thirds of new electricity capacity additions past year, far outshining coal and natural gas growth.

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