In recent decades, wind turbines have become a familiar sight in many countries. Onshore wind projects around the world now consistently deliver electricity for USD 0.04 per kilowatt‑hour (kWh), with some projects achieving as low as USD 0.03/kWh. Yet up-to-date cost data and reliable projections of future costs remain limited.
The “learning curve” — a concept borrowed from manufacturing — assesses the rate at which production costs fall as deployment grows due to manufacturing and technology improvements. As an analytical tool, the curve captures past evolution and is a useful tool for assessing potential future cost trends for a given technology. In short, it provides a useful estimate of how future costs will fall as deployment (measured in some kind of physical units) grows. Continue reading Onshore Wind Industry Learning Fast
At a media frenzied event last March, electric car manufacturer, Tesla, unveiled its Model 3. Priced to compete with conventional fossil-fuelled vehicles, it attracted over 325,000 reservations within a week. The hype built around this vehicle, and several other fast and slick electric cars, is but a symptom of a much larger and growing movement across the motor vehicle industry, to cut the transport sector’s oil addiction and switch to electric power.
Globally the stock of electric vehicles is on the rise, and in 2015 more than one million electric vehicles were on the road. That number grew to more than two million in 2016, with China, the US, and several European countries leading the way in uptake. Continue reading Enabling Variable Renewables and Driving Down Emissions, with Electric Vehicles
Spurred by ambitious national commitments, international agreements and rapid technological progress, governments are increasingly choosing renewable energy to expand their countries’ power infrastructures. In 2014, renewables provided 23% of power generation worldwide, and with the adoption of more ambitious plans and policies, this could reach 45% by 2030.
Amid this accelerating transition, the variability of solar and wind energy — two key sources for renewable power generation — presents new challenges. It also raises questions, like ‘How do you power a country when the wind isn’t blowing or the sun isn’t shining?’ and ‘How does variable power fit with the delivery of reliable electricity?’
Continue reading Planning for Solar and Wind
Renewable energy, for three years running, has accounted for more new power generation capacity installed worldwide than all other sources combined. In 2015, over USD 270 billion were invested in solar PV and wind power, boosting capacity by 47 GW 63 GW respectively. This capacity is expected to only grow and efforts are now focusing on implementing an innovative enabling framework to integrate these technologies at the scale needed. But that is not a simple task and questions still remain: what technologies and tool are part of the power sector transformation? What still needs to be developed? And how can IRENA assist?
Continue reading Transforming the Power Sector, at IRENA Ministerial Meeting
A few years ago it would have been impossible for many to imagine that renewables would be in the position they are in today. Dramatic price drops and huge increases in investment and installed capacity have transformed renewables into a power source that can be part of supporting the global economy. But how can this momentum be maintained, and what role do policies have in bringing about a sustainable future?
“Lawmakers have a rich history of creating the policy and legal frameworks that can drive renewable energy deployment. Their role is even more critical as governments look to transform their energy infrastructure and markets,” said IRENA Director-General Adan Z. Amin, at IRENA’s second Legislators Forum on 13 January 2017. “By bringing together lawmakers from around the world concerned about energy issues, IRENA can better support their efforts to accelerate the energy transition.” Continue reading Today’s Legislation for Tomorrow
Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are on the frontlines of global climate change. Dependent on the ocean for their livelihoods, yet threatened by its rising and acidifying waters, this assemblage of the world’s lowest lying countries are some of the most outspoken and driven countries for decarbonisation and renewable energy.
Matching ambition with reality, however, is not simple, and SIDS need international support to accomplish their decarbonisation goals. But what does that support look like? What is needed to identify the best pathways for SIDS to achieve a renewable energy future and to establish the necessary frameworks for accessing financial support at the speed and scale required to transform their energy systems? Continue reading Finding a Way to Transform Energy on Islands
From 14 to 15 January 2017, the seventh session of the Assembly of IRENA gathered 3 heads of state, 75 ministers, government officials from over 150 countries, and representatives from the private sector, civil society and other international organisations. As IRENA’s ultimate decision-making authority, the Assembly brought together the international community to reaffirm the global renewable energy agenda and make concrete steps to accelerate the global energy transition.
Taking place at the St. Regis Saadiyat Hotel in Abu Dhabi, with a day of preliminary meetings and discussions on 13 January, the Assembly focused on the critical role of renewable energy in combating climate change, expanding energy access and meeting global sustainable development goals. Continue reading Energy Community Gathers at IRENA’s 7th Assembly