June 11, 2018 Read More →

Global investment in wind and solar doubles that in gas, nuclear, and coal

Wall Street Journal:

Global spending on renewable energy is outpacing investment in electricity from coal, natural gas and nuclear power plants, driven by falling costs of producing wind and solar power.

More than half of the power-generating capacity added around the world in recent years has been in renewable sources such as wind and solar, according to the International Energy Agency.

In 2016, the latest year for which data is available, about $297 billion was spent on renewables—more than twice the $143 billion spent on new nuclear, coal, gas and fuel oil power plants, according to the IEA. The Paris-based organization projects renewables will make up 56% of net generating capacity added through 2025.

Once supported overwhelmingly by cash-back incentives, tax credits and other government incentives, wind- and solar-generation costs have fallen consistently for a decade, making renewable-power investment more competitive.

Renewable costs have fallen so far in the past few years that “wind and solar now represent the lowest-cost option for generating electricity,” said Francis O’Sullivan, research director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Energy Initiative.

Sustained government support in Europe and other developed economies spurred the development of renewable energy. But costs have fallen for other reasons. China invested heavily in a domestic solar-manufacturing industry, creating a glut of inexpensive solar panels. Innovation helped manufacturers build longer wind-turbine blades, creating machines able to generate substantially more power at a lower cost.

Renewable-energy plants also face fewer challenges than traditional power plants. Nuclear-power plants have been troubled by mostly technical delays, while plants burning fossil fuels face regulatory uncertainties due to concerns about climate change. And pension funds, seeking long-term stable returns, have invested heavily in wind farms and solar parks, allowing developers to get cheaper financing.

“It is just easier to get renewables built,” said Tony Clark, a former member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. “There is that much less opposition to it.”

More ($): Global Investment in Wind and Solar Energy Is Outshining Fossil Fuels

Comments are closed.