Saturday June 17, 2017

Solar Power Will Kill Coal Faster Than You Think

Research from Bloomberg’s New Energy Finance group (BNEF) shows that solar power is becoming cheap enough to push coal and even natural-gas plants out of business faster than previously forecast. Solar already rivals the cost of new coal power plants in Germany and the U.S., and the same will happen in quick-growing markets such as China and India by 2021. With green energy taking root quicker than experts anticipated, some believe that global carbon dioxide pollution from fossil fuels may actually decline after 2026. This is opposite of the International Energy Agency’s central forecast, which sees emissions rising steadily for decades to come.

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BNEF’s conclusions about renewables and their impact on fossil fuels are most dramatic. Electricity from photovoltaic panels costs almost a quarter of what it did in 2009 and is likely to fall another 66 percent by 2040. Onshore wind, which has dropped 30 percent in price in the past eight years, will fall another 47 percent by the end of BNEF’s forecast horizon. That means even in places like China and India, which are rapidly installing coal plants, solar will start providing cheaper electricity as soon as the early 2020s. "These tipping points are all happening earlier and we just can’t deny that this technology is getting cheaper than we previously thought," said Henbest.

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