The dramatic cost reductions we’ve seen in recent years for solar and wind electricity will continue well into the future, according to a new report released today by IRENA. It finds that by 2025 – with the right regulatory and policy frameworks in place – average electricity costs could decrease 59% for solar photovoltaics (PV), 35% for offshore wind, 26% for onshore wind, and up to 43% for concentrated solar power compared to 2015. Continue reading Dramatic Price Drops For Solar & Wind Electricity Set To Continue
At 5:55 in the morning, the Solar Impulse 2 safely landed in Kalaeloa, Hawaii, and, along the way in the blue expanse of the Pacific Ocean, shattered the world record for the longest non-stop solo flight in any kind of plane. It is a historic first for solar energy, further proving the potential of renewable energy to power a clean, sustainable future. IRENA is proud to be a partner of Solar Impulse and its mission to demonstrate the possibilities of renewable energy.
The Solar Impulse 2 aircraft, piloted alternately by Swiss explorers Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg, set off on its 22,000-mile journey around the world from Abu Dhabi on 9 March. It will end its epic journey back in Abu Dhabi sometime in late 2015, weather permitting.
“No solar plane has ever flown for this long and we’re pushing the plane and pilot to their limits: fatigue, aircraft systems and energy management.”- Bertrand Piccard, Solar Impulse Pilot
At 76h 45min into the flight from Japan to Hawaii, the Solar Impulse broke Steve Fossett’s 2006 record for the longest solo flight in a plane, but there were other barriers to clear. Throughout the flight, the pilots had to cope with weather fronts, which forced them to maintain holding patterns and stay awake overnight.
After nearly five days of flying, the plane safely touched down during sunrise in Hawaii.
Watch the landing video:
“I feel exhilarated by this extraordinary journey. I have climbed the equivalent altitude of Mount Everest five times without much rest…This success fully validates the vision that my partner Bertrand Piccard had…to reach unlimited endurance in an airplane without fuel.” – Andre Borschberg, Solar Impulse Pilot
On IRENA’s partnership with Solar Impulse:
“By collaborating with Solar Impulse, IRENA reaffirms the importance of innovation and technology in achieving a cleaner, more secure, less volatile, global energy system. The project is truly emblematic of the type of pioneering spirit and innovation we are currently witnessing in the field of renewable energy. Its success is a testament to the fact that governments and the private sector are realizing just how much can be achieved through renewable energy deployment.” IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin
Overall, the Solar Impulse’s trip around the globe is expected to take 25 flight days and is broken into 12 legs at speeds between 30 and 60 miles per hour. Its next destinations are from Hawaii to Phoenix and then New York, Europe and back to Abu Dhabi. The aircraft’s wingspan is longer than that of a jumbo jet, but it weighs only 2.3 tonnes — about the same as a car.
Piccard’s vision of an airplane flying day and night with no fuel has now become reality. If the world utilized the clean technologies similar to those used in Solar Impulse 2 today, energy consumption and CO2 emissions would be halved. Furthermore, these technologies are cost-competitive, support overall economic growth and create jobs.
Follow the Solar Impulse as it continues its journey with live updates.
The Solar Impulse team
Providing clean, sustainable energy to the 1.1 billion people currently without modern energy services now has a new champion; a champion with a loud voice and global reach. Akon, R & B star and founder of the Akon Lighting Africa initiative teamed up with Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) this week in New York, lending his voice to the cause and participating in the second annual SE4All forum.
On the sidelines of the forum today, SE4All and Akon held a press conference to underscore the importance of universal energy access. Joining Akon on the panel were Adnan Amin, Director-General of IRENA, Kandeh Yumkella, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and CEO of Sustainable Energy for All, Neven Mimica, EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, and Sheila Oparaocha, head of Energia.
Akon stressed that energy access is key to helping people escape poverty, increasing quality of life and improving health. He also stated that he wanted to give back to the people of Africa by bringing them light through the Akon Lighting Africa initiative.
In its role as the SE4All Renewable Energy Hub, IRENA developed the Global Renewable Energy Roadmap (REmap 2030), which explores pathways to double the share of renewables in the global energy mix by 2030. The roadmap examines how renewable energy could support SE4ALL’s other objectives of achieving universal access to modern energy services, and doubling the rate of energy efficiency improvements.
In 2013, REmap 2030 looked at 26 countries accounting for 75% of global energy use, and examined how much they could realistically increase the share of renewable energy in their energy mix by 2030. It found that it is entirely possible to double the global share of renewables, up to 36%, and is actually cheaper than not doing so, when you take into account externalities like the cost of health care, pollution etc.
Fast forward to today and the socio-economic case for renewable energy is even stronger.
An IRENA report released earlier this year found that the cost of generating power from renewable energy sources has reached parity or dropped below the cost of fossil fuels for many technologies in many parts of the world. Onshore wind is now one of the most cost-competitive sources of electricity available with some projects now delivering electricity for as little as US 4 cents per kWh.
These lows costs for renewables are triggering increased deployment and creating jobs. Just yesterday, IRENA released the 2015 renewable energy and jobs annual review, which found that 7.7 million people worldwide are now employed by the renewable energy sector. This is an 18% increase in the last year and a 35% increase in the last two years.
If we succeed in doubling the global share of renewable energy, which REmap showed us in entirely possible, then we will surpass 16 million jobs by 2030.
With these developing realities in play, a SE4All future of 100% electrification is indeed possible.
Solar and wind are now the cheapest sources of new energy supply in the United Arab Emirates, according to a report released today by IRENA, Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, and the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Marking the country’s first public comparison of different energy technology costs and potentials, the Renewable Energy Prospects: United Arab Emirates report finds the UAE could achieve a 10 per cent share of renewable energy in its total energy supply – and almost 25 per cent in the power sector – resulting in energy system savings of USD 1.9 billion (AED 7 billion) annually by 2030.
“The UAE’s strategy of innovation and diversification has placed it at the fulcrum of the massive transformation of the global energy landscape that has already begun. Renewables have decisively emerged from a niche technology to a major component of the energy mix and have been the majority of global power capacity additions for the last three years. The dramatic technology cost declines we are mapping present a real possibility to move to a sustainable energy future even in the hydrocarbon producers in the MENA region.” – IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin
The report cites sharp declines in renewable energy costs in the UAE, as well as rising costs for natural gas as domestic production declines and the country turns to more expensive imported sources, as the key drivers for renewable energy’s financial attractiveness. Local solar PV costs, for instance, have fallen by 80 per cent since 2008, while the cost of new gas supplies in the UAE has grown from under $2.5/MMBtu in 2010 to $6-8/MMBtu for domestic production and $10-18/MMBtu for imports today, even after the recent decline of oil and LNG prices. The report estimates that solar, wind, and waste-to-energy are preferable for power generation when new gas is above $8/MMBtu – making them immediately competitive in the UAE, where natural gas supplies almost 100 per cent of power.
The report also reveals that solar costs are poised to decrease even further. In January, the tender for the second phase of Mohammed bin Rashid Solar Park in Dubai was awarded to the lowest bidder for under six cents per kilowatt hour for a 25-year fixed contract. This is the lowest solar price ever achieved worldwide.
“This report is an eye-opener. It provides policymakers and investors with an objective cost baseline, making the clear case that renewables, and especially solar, will have a much larger role sooner than we ever expected in the UAE and Middle East.” – Dr. Fred Moavenzadeh, President of Masdar Institute
The report is one of the first three country analyses under IRENA’s REmap 2030 programme, which evaluates how the world can meet the United Nations’ Sustainable Energy for All goal of doubling the global share of renewable energy by 2030. The project maps how renewable energy can grow in the power, industry, buildings, and transport sectors. Health and environmental benefits are also included in the analyses, and in the case of the UAE, they could amount to additional annual net savings of USD 1 to 3.7 billion by 2030.
“The UAE made an early bet on energy diversification. We are investing broadly and letting technologies compete to produce the optimal supply mix. As this report shows, there is now a clear financial case for renewables, even before we consider benefits like energy security, emissions, and job creation.” – His Excellency Dr. Thani Al Zeyoudi, the UAE’s Permanent Representative to IRENA and the Director of Energy and Climate Change at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
The report notes that solar and wind are still challenged by intermittency, which will require natural gas to fill gaps in output. However, the savings from generating solar power during the daytime, instead of consuming gas, are so great that they could justify 17,500 megawatts of PV in the UAE by 2030, up from around 40 MW today.
The global energy elite gather today in Berlin to discuss progress and chart new direction in the ongoing global transition to renewable energy. The two-day Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue – towards a global Energiewende brings together energy policy experts and representatives of politics, industry and civil society to shape new energy policy and drive future progress.
The Director-General of IRENA Adnan Z. Amin, delivered a keynote address at the event today, highlighting the global impact of Germany’s early innovation and continuing commitment to the development and deployment of renewable energy technologies.
“Germany has long recognised technological innovation as a crucial component of its Energiewende. This foresight and commitment has inspired the innovation and investment required for these technologies to become technically and commercially viable in developed and developing economies.” Adnan Z. Amin
According to IRENA’s recent report Renewable Power Generation Costs in 2014, the cost of generating power from renewable energy sources has reached parity or dropped below the cost of fossil fuels for many technologies in many parts of the world. This holds true even without financial support and despite falling oil prices. Solar photovoltaic (PV) is leading the cost decline, with solar PV module costs falling more than 75 per cent since the end of 2009 and the cost of electricity from utility-scale solar PV falling 50 per cent since 2010.
The report also indicates that costs for Germany’s small-scale residential rooftop solar PV systems fell 64 per cent between 2008 and 2014, achieving the lowest costs in the developed world, second only to China. Germany also has the world’s largest cumulative installed capacity of solar PV, the third largest installed capacity for both onshore and offshore wind, and the largest installed biomass capacity.
“Germany has one of the most ambitious renewable energy targets in the world under the Energiewende, promising 60 per cent of renewable energy in final energy consumption and 80 per cent of electricity generated from renewable sources by 2050. IRENA applauds Germany’s leadership in this sector.” Adnan Z. Amin
German Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel and IRENA Director-General Adnan Amin met today to discuss how best to collaborate to promote the global uptake of renewable energy. Germany played a pivotal role in the foundation of IRENA and currently hosts IRENA’s Innovation and Technology Center (IITC) in Bonn, which provides information on renewable energy technologies and innovations worldwide.
“The most important argument in favor of renewable energy is that it has produced more than 300,000 new jobs in Germany.” Germany Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel
The business case for renewable energy is getting stronger as renewables are now cost competitive with fossil fuels in many cases worldwide, even without financial support and despite falling oil prices.
“Wind generation in Germany today is cheaper than any conventional generation. This is the case in one market after another. What we need now is an economic system that prices fossil fuels accurately without subsidies.” IRENA Director-General Adnan Amin
IRENA’s costing report shows that prices for Germany’s residential solar systems have fallen 64% since 2008 and are now cheaper than utility-scale projects in many countries.
Adnan Amin will speak later this month at the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue on the potential impact and benefits of the rapid scale up of renewable energy worldwide, and IRENA and Germany will release a renewable energy roadmap for Germany later in 2015.
This was the first official visit to IRENA’s new headquarters, which received a four-pearl rating from Estidama for its energy and water efficiency. The building uses 42% less energy than global standards and 48% less water than typical buildings in Abu Dhabi.
Scaling up renewable energy in India is the topic of the day as government officials, investors, and energy industry leaders gather in New Delhi, India to attend RE-Invest, the First Renewable Energy Global Investors’ Meet & Expo.
IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin, delivered today’s keynote address, stressing the importance of renewable energy in sustainably meeting India’s growing energy needs. India is the world’s third largest economy and the fourth largest energy consumer. By 2030, India will surpass China as the world’s most populous nation, demanding more than twice as much energy as is needed today.
“India’s increasing demand for energy can no longer be met through traditional energy sources alone. Renewable energy must be a major part of the solution because it can meet the demand cheaply and sustainably while at the same time achieving broader socio-economic objectives.” Mr. Amin
According to IRENA’s new report Renewable Power Generation Costs in 2014, the cost of generating power from renewable energy sources has reached parity or dropped below the cost of fossil fuels for many technologies in many parts of the world. Biomass, hydropower, geothermal, wind and solar are all competitive with or cheaper than coal, oil and gas-fired power stations. This holds true even without financial support and despite falling oil prices. Solar photovoltaic (PV) is leading the cost decline, with solar PV module costs falling more than 75 per cent since the end of 2009 and the cost of electricity from utility-scale solar PV falling 50 per cent since 2010.
India has some of the lowest development costs for renewable technologies worldwide. Average installed costs for biomass, hydropower and onshore wind in India are between USD 1,240 and 1,390/kW. Average installed costs for large-scale solar PV have also fallen dramatically in India to USD 1,670/kW. In Europe by comparison, average total installed wind costs are USD 2,000/kW and average installed costs for large-scale solar PV are USD 2,330/kW. India’s significant volumes of agricultural residues (e.g. straw and sugarcane bagasse) also provide some of the lowest cost electricity in the world with an average cost of USD 0.04/kWh.
“Falling prices are driving renewable energy investment in India, which rose 13 per cent last year and is expected to surpass 10 billion dollars in 2015. Adoption of increasingly cost-effective renewables holds the genuine promise of a new age of socio-economic development, powered by clean, increasingly decentralised, and sustainable energy. The opportunity for India is tremendous.” – Mr. Amin
In addition to being increasingly economical, Mr. Amin stressed that renewable energy provides strong social and environmental benefits, simultaneously improving public health and security, creating jobs, reducing air pollution, boosting GDP and improving the balance of trade. The renewable energy industry now employs 6.5 million people globally, a number IRENA estimates could top 16 million by 2030. India is the world’s fourth largest employer in the sector, with 391,000 renewable energy jobs.
“India has one of the most ambitious renewable energy programmes in the world and developments in India will strongly influence the trajectory of the energy transformation worldwide. The signs of progress so far are encouraging, and the attendance here today is testament to the recognition that renewables are a fantastic investment opportunity.” – Mr. Amin
The cost of generating power from renewable energy sources has reached parity or dropped below the cost of fossil fuels for many technologies in many parts of the world, IRENA revealed in a new report today.
The landmark report, Renewable Power Generation Costs in 2014, concludes that biomass, hydropower, geothermal and onshore wind are all competitive with or cheaper than coal, oil and gas-fired power stations, even without financial support and despite falling oil prices. Solar photovoltaic (PV) is leading the cost decline, with solar PV module costs falling 75 per cent since the end of 2009 and the cost of electricity from utility-scale solar PV falling 50 per cent since 2010.
“Renewable energy projects across the globe are now matching or outperforming fossil fuels, particularly when accounting for externalities like local pollution, environmental damage and ill health. The game has changed; the plummeting price of renewables is creating a historic opportunity to build a clean, sustainableenergy system and avert catastrophic climate change in an affordable way.” – Adnan Z. Amin, Director-General of IRENA
- In many countries, including Europe, onshore wind power is one of the most competitive sources of new electricity capacity available. Individual wind projects are consistently delivering electricity for USD 0.05 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) without financial support, compared to a range of USD 0.045 to 0.14/kWh for fossil-fuel power plants.
- The average cost of wind energy ranges from USD 0.06/kWh in China and Asia to USD 0.09/kWh in Africa. North America also has competitive wind projects, with an average cost of USD 0.07/kWh.
- Solar PV module prices have dropped 75% since 2009 and continue to decrease.
- Residential solar PV systems are now as much as 70% cheaper than in 2008.
- Between 2010 and 2014 the total installed costs of utility-scale solar PV systems fell by as much as 65 per cent. The most competitive utility-scale solar PV projects are delivering electricity for USD 0.08/kWh without financial support, and lower prices are possible with low financing costs. Their cost range in China, North America and South America has fallen within the range of fossil fuel-fired electricity.
- Solar power prices are dropping rapidly in the Middle East, with a recent tender in Dubai, UAE, falling to 0.06USD/kWh.
- Renewables are competitive, even when integrating high shares of variable renewables into the electricity. When damage to human health from fossil fuels in power generation is considered in economic terms, along with the cost of CO2 emissions, the price of fossil fuel-fired power generation rises to between USD 0.07 and 0.19/kWh.
For 1.3 billion people worldwide without electricity, renewables are the cheapest source of energy. Renewables also offer massive gains in cost and security for islands and other isolated areas reliant on diesel.
Thanks in large part to the clear business case for renewables, a record high of 120 gigawatts of renewable energy was added to the global energy mix in 2013, with similar additions forecast for 2014. Renewable energy accounted for 22 per cent of global electricity generation and 19 per cent of total final energy consumption in 2013.
“Now is the time for a step-change in deployment for renewables. It has never been cheaper to avoid dangerous climate change, create jobs, reduce fuel import bills and future-proof our energy system with renewables. This requires public acknowledgement of the low price of renewables, an end to subsidies for fossil fuels, and regulations and infrastructure to support the global energy transition.” – Adnan Z. Amin, Director-General of IRENA
The report goes on to explain that renewable energy price improvements are not universal, and that costs range widely according to resources and the availability of financing. Offshore wind and concentrated solar power (CSP) technologies are in earlier stages and deployment costs remain higher than those of fossil fuels. These technologies will however become more cost-competitive in future, especially where low-cost financing is available.