Tuesday, September 30, 2014

IEA: Thanks To Falling Costs, Solar May Become Largest Power Source By 2050

"Photovoltaic plants may provide as much as 16 percent of global electricity, and concentrating solar facilities could generate another 11 percent, the IEA said....The Paris-based organization details what is required to reach these figures in two scenarios it sets out to reach the goal....The technologies are expensive to develop, so lowering the cost of capital is of primary importance to achieve this vision, she said. The IEA is the latest organization to suggest the potential of renewable energy, particular solar, to transform the global power system." Marc Roca in Bloomberg
When it comes to rooftop solar, a battle is brewing worldwide against utilities and users. "It's still less than one percent of energy capacity worldwide, but the surge in installations of rooftop solar panels is beginning to hit utilities and their business model of charging customers on the basis of consumption. Joined by traditional energy companies, they are lobbying governments to reverse decades of subsidies to green, renewable energy such as solar and, in some cases, to tax them. In Europe, Australia and in the United States, energy companies have powerful lobbies that argue that they form a cornerstone of the economy and provide jobs to tens of thousands. Governments are forced to pay heed and in some cases they have acted." Tracy Rucinski and Byron Kaye in Reuters.
Study suggests these utilities could face dire straits without policy changes. "All these solar households are now buying less and less electricity, but the utilities still have to manage the costs of connecting them to the grid. Indeed, a new study from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory argues that, without policy changes, this trend could soon put utilities in dire financial straits. If rooftop solar were to grab 10 percent of the market over the next decade, utility earnings could decline as much as 41 percent. To avoid that fate, many utilities are now pushing for reforms that would at least slow the breakneck growth of rooftop solar — say, by scaling back those 'net metering' laws. And that's opened up a war with many fronts." Brad Plumer in Vox.

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