European Parliament groupings, renewable energy associations and climate activists have voiced disappointment at the EU Climate Law officially unveiled yesterday. Lack of a raised emission-reduction ambition to 2030 is at the heart of the opposition, with critics saying the plan will be insufficient to help prevent global temperatures rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Although PV trails wind and nuclear in terms of its anticipated future footprint, the opposition party’s attempt to outflank left of center rivals on climate change has resulted in one of the world’s most ambitious national roadmaps towards a zero-carbon future.
While some lenders and financiers have signaled plans to stop funding polluting power stations, a new report shows that 33 global banks have poured $1.9 trillion into financing the fossil fuel industry as a whole since the adoption of the Paris Agreement. Big U.S. banks led by JPMorgan have invested most heavily.
Solar PV has come a long way as a power generation technology. As highlighted in SolarPower Europe’s Global Market Outlook for 2018 to 2022, solar added 98 GW of net generation capacity last year, eclipsing all other forms of electricity generation. But solar needs to do a lot more, and to do it very soon if we want to limit greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and keep global warming to below 1.5°C from pre-industrial levels.
The tipping point, where the world shifts from oil and gas to renewables, will be the year 2035, says Wood Mackenzie. This is when renewables and electric-based technologies converge, with around 20% of global power needs being met by solar or wind, and roughly 20% of miles traveled by cars, trucks, buses and bikes using electricity. Will the transition come soon enough, however?
Electrifying the global energy system with clean energy is the only way to reach the targets set by the Paris agreement on climate change and avoid the catastrophic scenarios outlined by the recent IPCC report. In an interview with pv magazine, Christian Breyer – Professor of Solar Economy at Finland’s Lappeenranta University of Technology – explains a 100% renewables model is not only technically feasible, but also the cheapest and safest option. With solar and storage at its core, the future energy system envisaged by Breyer and his team will not only stop coal, but also nuclear and fossil gas, while seeing solar reach a share of around 70% of power consumption by 2050. By that time, PV technology could cost a third of its current price.
Announcing its participation at the FT Climate Finance Summit in London, the bank says that through targeted financial commitments, increasing competition and progressive policy changes, prices for renewable energy resources have come down to US$0.025/ kWh in Egypt and Jordan, for example. The bank calls for a change in investment practices to further this development.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has released a new report on different ways global warming can be kept within the 1.5°C limit. The panel seeks to inform policymakers before the upcoming COP24 in Poland this December. Resulting from their analysis, the 91 authors state that drastic action and significant investments are needed. Such climate action across all sectors would have significant positive effects on sustainable development progress, they say.
Solar PV capacity is set to grow 17-fold, and wind six-fold, by 2050, to account for nearly half of global electricity generation, predicts BNEF, while investments will reach US$11.5 trillion. Cost reductions will drive this charge, particularly in the battery market, which will benefit from the EV manufacturing ramp up. Despite this, the electricity sector is still failing to bring CO₂ emissions down to the required levels, with its continued dependence on gas.
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