June 19, 2018 Read More →

BNEF expects steep decline in coal generation through 2050

PV Magazine:

In its 2018 New Energy Outlook, Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) sees skyrocketing growth in the global solar and wind energy markets up to 2050. Overall, it anticipates that solar and wind will account for nearly half of global electricity generation by this date, driven by “precipitous” cost reductions–leading to levelized costs of electricity (LCOE) falling 71% by 2050, following a 77% decrease between 2009 and 2018, says BNEF–and “cheaper and cheaper” batteries.

A total of $11.5 trillion is also expected to be invested in new power generation capacity, globally, between 2018 and 2050, writes BNEF, with $8.4 trillion of that going to solar and wind; and $1.3 trillion to new gas capacity (nearly half of which will go to gas-fired power plants, rather than combined-cycle turbines).

The main emphasis in BNEF’s report is on batteries. Since 2010, it calculates that prices for lithium-ion storage have dropped by 80% per MWh. Due to accelerating electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing during the 2020s, these are expected to decline further. Expanding, Logan Goldie-Scott, Head of Energy Storage at BNEF told pv magazine, “We expect battery pack prices to fall to $96/kWh by 2025 and $70/kWh by 2030.”

“The arrival of cheap battery storage will mean that it becomes increasingly possible to finesse the delivery of electricity from wind and solar so that these technologies can help meet demand even when the wind isn’t blowing, and the sun isn’t shining,” writes Seb Henbest head of Europe, Middle East, and Africa for BNEF and lead author of NEO 2018. “The result will be renewables eating up more and more of the existing market for coal, gas and nuclear,” he adds.

In its latest report, BNEF further forecasts that as solar and wind shares rise, coal will become less relevant, with its global share of the electricity market expected to shrink from 38% to 11%. Elena Giannakopoulou, head of energy economics at BNEF, comments, “Coal emerges as the biggest loser in the long run. Beaten on cost by wind and PV for bulk electricity generation, and batteries and gas for flexibility, the future electricity system will reorganize around cheap renewables–coal gets squeezed out.”

More: Falling battery costs to push solar, wind to 50% electricity by 2050

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