A new report from the World Energy Council finds that onshore wind and hydroelectricity are already at parity with coal and gas production,and prices are expected to fall further among other renewable technologies, especially solar,as uptake increases.
Research by the World Energy Council (WEC)as well as Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) has found that although fossil fuels still make up almost two-thirds of total global power production, net investment in renewable capacity is outpacing traditional generation,helping to reduce clean energy costs further.Their report found that clean energy investment grew seven-fold between 2004 and 2011,with some $228bn being committed to renewable technologies worldwide last year alone.
Both parties expect this trend to continue, accelerating the global share of renewable generation output from roughly 23 per cent in 2010 to around 34 per cent in 2030 while fossil fuels' share will fall to between 40 and 45 per cent.
Costings for solar PV and onshore wind,especially have fallen dramatically as governments worldwide have encouraged development through financial support, which has in turn increased rapid deployment, driving down manufacturing costs and increasing the efficiency of production.
Dr Christoph Frei, WEC secretary general, expects that renewable energy in general and solar PV in particular would experience strong growth in the next decade.
"While the price of renewable energy remains high compared with fossil fuels in most contexts, the cost of most technologies, and most dramatically that of solar PV, is coming down with production scale-up in many areas of the world.With such growth, grid parity is simply a matter of time.We are talking years not decades here. However, given the relatively high cost of storage and the need for back-up power, it will be of paramount importance for countries to maintain a diversified energy mix and to overcome infrastructure bottlenecks."
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