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Renewable energy set to become much cheaper

Renewable energy set to become much cheaper

Renewable energy set to become much cheaper

If your business is looking for ways to manage its carbon footprint and improve energy efficiency, possibly saving money in the process, there are a number of ways of going about it.

There are small, relatively simple changes - such as fitting energy-saving light bulbs and minimising non-recyclable waste - and then there are bigger changes like increasing the amount of renewable energy your organisation uses.

Making the move to sustainable power might seem like an expensive and potentially disruptive option, but research has suggested that renewables are about to become a much bigger part of the global energy mix, and consequently more affordable.

According to the New Energy Outlook (NEO) 2017 report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), solar power costs will plummet by 66 per cent by 2040, while onshore wind will fall by 47 per cent. Renewables will reach a position where they can undercut the majority of existing fossil fuel power stations by 2030, according to the forecasts.

Sustainable sources of electricity generation like solar and wind could account for almost three-quarters of the $10.2 trillion (£8 trillion) the world will invest in new power technologies during the decades up to 2040.

Some of the key findings from BNEF's latest research suggested that $7.4 trillion will be invested in new renewable energy plants by 2040, with $2.8 trillion going towards solar and $3.3 trillion to wind.

Wind and solar could account for nearly half (48 per cent) of global installed capacity and a third (34 per cent) of electricity generation by 2040, compared to current levels of 12 per cent and five per cent respectively.

For businesses, these trends could open up more affordable opportunities to embrace renewable energy - by installing solar panels on rooftops, for example.

The report also indicated growth in the lithium-ion battery market for energy storage. It predicted that small-scale batteries installed by businesses and households alongside solar photovoltaic power systems will account for 57 per cent of all energy storage worldwide by 2040.

Discussing the findings, Seb Henbest, lead author of NEO 2017 at BNEF, said the report suggests that the "greening of the world's electricity system is unstoppable". He noted that this is largely down to "rapidly falling costs for solar and wind power, and a growing role for batteries, including those in electric vehicles, in balancing supply and demand".

Jon Moore, chief executive of BNEF, commented: "NEO reflects the understanding our team has built up over more than a decade of how technology costs and system dynamics have evolved, and are evolving. This year's NEO shows an even more dramatic low-carbon transition than we have projected in previous years, with steeper drops in wind and solar costs and faster growth for storage."

In a recent survey by comparison site Love Energy Savings, more than 40 per cent of people expressed the view that businesses should take clean power from renewable sources.

 

Posted by Frances Singer

Image courtesy of iStock/imacoconut