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Wind, solar power to reach 48% of global mix in 2050 - BNEF

Enel's Fontes Solar 2 plant in Brazil. Source: Enel

June 21 (Renewables Now) - Wind and solar projects will account for over 70% of the USD 13.3 trillion (EUR 11.8 tn) of investments in new power generation capacity expected globally by 2050, according to BloombergNEF (BNEF).

Thanks to significant declines in the cost of wind, solar and battery storage technology, the global power mix in 2050 is to contain 48% wind and solar power, shows the New Energy Outlook 2019 (NEO). At the same time, coal’s share will drop to 12% from 37% today, while oil’s contribution will fall to zero. The shares of hydro, natural gas, and nuclear will be roughly unchanged.

Already today, in about two-thirds of the world wind or solar represent the least expensive new power generation option, BNEF said. “Our power system analysis reinforces a key message from previous New Energy Outlooks – that solar photovoltaic modules, wind turbines and lithium-ion batteries are set to continue on aggressive cost reduction curves, of 28%, 14% and 18% respectively for every doubling in global installed capacity,” said Matthias Kimmel, NEO 2019 lead analyst.

With an expected 62% increase in electricity demand by 2050, the world’s power generation capacity will nearly treble between 2018 and the middle of the century. Investment in wind during that period is estimated at USD 5.3 trillion, while in solar it will be of about USD 4.2 trillion. Battery storage investments are seen at USD 840 billion and USD 11.4 trillion are to go for the expansion of the grid.

BNEF calculates that in 2050 renewables will account for 62% of global power. In Europe that percentage will be higher, at about 92%. However, the abundance of low-priced natural gas in the US and modern coal-fired power capacity in China will not allow these two to grow renewables as quickly as Europe.

In the context of climate change, BNEF expects wind, solar and battery storage technologies to ensure that the power sector fulfils its part, at least until 2030, in keeping global temperatures from rising by more than 2 degrees Celsius.

(USD 1 = EUR 0.89)

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Browse all articles from Tsvetomira Tsanova

Tsvet has been following the development of the global renewable energy industry for almost nine years. She's got a soft spot for emerging markets.

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