'New era' in solar energy fuelling growth in renewables: IEA

05 October, 2017, 00:35 | Author: Lorraine Moran
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That's according to a new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA), which also notes that " renewables accounted for nearly two-thirds of net new power capacity around the world" past year.

A year ago was the first time solar energy growth had surpassed any other fuel as a source of power, the report said, surpassing the net growth in coal.

Solar energy was the fastest-growing source of electric power previous year, a new report said on Wednesday, amid the "birth of a new era" for the reneweable energy sector.

"We see renewables growing by about 1,000 GW by 2022, which equals about half of the current global capacity in coal power, which took 80 years to build", says Dr Fatih Birol, the executive director of the IEA, in a press statement. The country is seeking to reduce its reliance on coal and has become the world's largest market for renewables, particularly solar. The world is collectively expected to grow renewable electricity capacity by 43 per cent between 2017 and 2022.

Renewables will account for 30% of power generation by that time, up from 24% in 2016, the IEA's report said.

"Solar PV is entering a new era", said an ebullient IEA in its report. Total solar PV capacity by then would exceed the combined total power capacities of India and Japan today, the IEA said.

The IEA put much of the solar surge down to a large reduction in the cost of deployment and increased support from governments.

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The IEA added that Solar Photo Voltaic (PV) and wind together represent 90 per cent of India's capacity growth as auctions yielded some of the world's lowest prices for both technologies.

China remained the undisputed leader of renewable electricity capacity expansion over the forecast period with over 360 gw of capacity coming online, or 40 per cent of the global total.

The US is the second largest market for renewables, but there is uncertainty in the future over federal tax reforms, global trade and energy policy, the report said.

The stunning growth trajectories reflected in the IEA report show how quickly the transition to renewables can be underway when aggressive policies cut through the barriers to growth.

Although coal will still be the largest source of electricity generation in 2022, renewables is on track to close the generation gap with coal by half in just five years.

Prices for wind and solar power fell a year ago to record lows in countries including India, the United Arab Emirates, Mexico and Chile, making the technologies increasingly comparable with or cheaper than energy from new gas or coal power stations.

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