Cost cuts will drive Europe to 60% renewables by 2030, says BNEF

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Cost-competitive renewable energy will spur Europe’s electricity generation toward a 60% share of electricity generation by 2030, according to a new report from Bloomberg News Energy Finance.

The consultancy’s 2030 Market Outlook found that falling cost will see 2012’s figure of 40% improved upon as 557GW of new renewable power capacity comes online by 2030.

“Our research shows that further improvements in the economics of solar and wind will mean they are increasingly installed without subsidy in the years ahead,” said Seb Henbest, head of Europe, Middle East and Africa for BNEF. “We expect Europe to invest nearly US$1 trillion to increase its renewables capacity by 2030, with rooftop PV accounting for US$339bn and onshore wind US$250bn,” he added.

According to the report, renewable energy will also increase its share in the Americas with the gross capacity ballooning from 7% in 2012 to 28% in 2030, while coal-generated capacity will drop from 21% to 9%.

The report adds that the Americas will add 943GW of capacity by 2030 – with 522GW added to the US, 341GW to Latin America and 80GW to Canada.

This will amount to around US$1.3 trillion of investment in power generation capacity – with US$231 billion invested into rooftop PV systems.

Other investment areas are planned in gas-fired plants (US$314 billion) and onshore wind (US$200 billion).

Michel DiCapua, head of Americas analysis for BNEF, said: “Two striking conclusions from our research: first, wind and solar will win bigger and bigger shares of the investment in new capacity as their technology costs go on falling; second, coal will be in rapid retreat, its share of generation in the Americas falling from 26% in 2012 to 17% in 2030.”

Advancements in energy efficiency means that US demand in electricity will only rise 0.5% annually from 2014-30, while the same demand will grow to 3% per year in Latin America due to rampant economic growth.

Rooftop PV installations are predicted to gain a major foothold in Latin America – a region that is predicted to add around 102GW of new PV capacity between 2013 and 2030.

On a global scale, BNEF predicts that US$7.7 trillion will be invested in new generation capacity by 2030, with 66% of that amount going into renewable technologies. Out of the US5.1 trillion to be used on renewables, US$2.5 trillion will be spent in Asia-Pacific, US$816 billion in the Americas, US$967 billion in Europe and US$818 billion in the rest of the world, including Africa and the Middle East.

PV and wind power will increase their combined global generation from 3% in 2013 to 16% in 2030.

Michael Liebreich, chairman of the advisory board for BNEF, said: “This country-by-country, technology-by-technology forecast of power market investment is more bullish on renewable energy’s future share of total generation than some of the other major forecasts, largely because we have a more bullish view of continuing cost reductions. What we are seeing is global CO2 emissions on track to stop growing by the end of next decade, with the peak only pushed back because of fast-growing developing countries, which continue adding fossil fuel capacity as well as renewables.”

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