Companies in 75 countries actively sourced 465 terawatt hours (TWh) of renewable energy in 2017, an amount close to the overall electricity demand of France, according to the report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). With the continued decline in the costs of renewables, the report suggests, corporate demand will continue to increase as companies seek to reduce electricity bills, hedge against future price spikes and address sustainability concerns.
Coal is to shrink to just 11% of global electricity generation by mid-century, from 38% now, as costs shift heavily in favour of wind, solar and batteries. Wind and solar are set to surge to almost “50 by 50” – 50% of world generation by 2050 due to reductions in cost. “Cheap battery storage means that it becomes increasingly possible to finesse the delivery of electricity from wind and solar so that these technologies can help meet demand even when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining. The result will be renewables eating up more and more of the existing market for coal, gas and nuclear.”
US – According to an analysis by the SUN DAY Campaign of data just released by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), solar and wind were the only energy sources adding new capacity to the U.S. electricity generation mix in September. Three “units” of new wind accounted for 363-MW while nine units of solar provided 339-MW.
The latest data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) is showing that electrical generation by renewable sources has edged past nuclear power. Additionally, wind and solar now provide 10% of the nation’s electricity, overall; with solar alone surpassing biomass and geothermal combined. Significantly, solar now triples electrical generation by oil. In addition, the data reveals that solar and wind both showed strong growth with solar (i.e., utility-scale + distributed PV) expanding by 27.6% and wind by 11.2%. Combined, they accounted for nearly a tenth of the nation’s electrical generation.
The electrification of road transport will move into top gear in the second half of the 2020s, thanks to tumbling battery costs and larger-scale manufacturing, with sales of electric cars racing to 28%, and those of e-buses (electric buses) to 84%, of their respective global markets by 2030. As the supply of cobalt emerges as a potential risk to the pace of growth in electrified transport over the next few years, the advance of e-buses will become more rapid than for electric cars, BNEF states.
Vestas has expanded its global presence further and has entered Bolivia with a 108 MW order for the three wind parks, San Julián, Warnes, and El Dorado, all located in the municipalities of Cocota, Warnes and Cabezas in Santa Cruz, central Bolivia. Upon completion, the three wind parks will have a capacity of 40 MW, 14 MW and 54 MW respectively and will make up the Santa Cruz wind project and have a total capacity of 108 MW, which is four times the country’s total currently installed wind capacity; and will significantly accelerate Bolivia’s journey towards phasing out fossil fuels.
Enel is now Peru’s leading renewable energy generator with around 1.1 GW of installed capacity following the commissioning of Wayra I which, with more than 132 MW, is now Peru’s largest wind farm. Built in approximately a year and comprising 42 wind turbines of 3 MW over each, it’s expected to produce 600 GWh per year; enough to avoid the annual emission of over 285,000 tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere. The energy generated by the wind farm is being delivered to the Peruvian transmission grid (SEIN) through the Poroma substation. The project is supported by a 20-year energy supply contract with Peru’s Ministry of Energy and Mines.
In the latest issue of its “Energy Infrastructure Update” (with data through November 30, 2017), the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) notes that proposed net additions to generating capacity by utility-scale wind and solar could total 115,984 megawatts (MW) by December 2020 – effectively doubling their current installed capacity of 115,520 MW. The numbers were released as FERC prepares for a January 10 meeting to consider U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s proposal for a bailout of the coal and nuclear industries.
Vestas has received a firm and unconditional order for 190 MW of 4 MW platform turbines in the U.S. taking the global order intake for the company in 2017 to 10.6 GW, surpassing 2016’s record order intake of 10.5 GW. The surge of orders at the end of the year has resulted in the company revising its guidance for free cashflow upwards. It now expects the free cashflow for 2017 to be €1.15bn-€1.25bn, as compared with the previous guidance of €450m-€900m. Markets have reacted favourably with the company share price experiencing an increase of 5%.
Policy makers led by US Senator Harry Reid were present at a celebration formally recognising Switch Stations 1 and 2 solar power plants, with a combined generation capacity of 179 MWac, as fully commissioned and in commercial operation. Senator Reid stated “Less than a decade ago, Nevada’s solar energy landscape was nonexistent, but this commissioning helps fulfil the vision I had to make our state the leader in renewable energy development. A technology giant like Switch committing to using 100% renewable energy is truly visionary and grows our clean energy economy by creating hundreds of good-paying construction jobs here.”
Google has reached power purchasing agreements with Avangrid Renewables for 196 MW of wind power. The agreements cover two wind farms, producing enough energy each year to power 50,000 households. The additional capacity helps Google reach its goal of purchasing enough renewable energy to match its energy use in global operations. Gary Demasi, Google’s director of global infrastructure stated: “with solar and wind declining dramatically in cost and propelling significant employment growth, the transition to clean energy is driving unprecedented economic opportunity and doing so faster than we ever anticipated.”