Falling costs in a number of technological advancements and renewables like wind and solar combined with solar batteries make people speculate that these renewables will dominate global generation by 2050.Globally, by 2050, solar capacity is set for a 17-fold increase thanks to the dropping technology expenses, particularly the battery energy storage. The solar panels UK cost at the moment has fallen to an affordable one, owing to these declines. A decrease in the levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) also plays a big part in all this. This is as per the new report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).
A New Energy Outlook (NEO) 150-page 2018 report predicts a domination of the energy sector in the world by solar systems due to the rapidly reducing prices of Lithium-ion batteries to use with solar panels. Since 2010, the prices of these batteries have dropped 80% per MWh and are expected to continue falling as electric vehicle manufacturing grows through the 2020s.
Relatively, this will enable the generation of energy from intermittent renewables like solar to become prominent as the output of these sources becomes easier to dispatch. Predictions by the report show that solar and wind could energise half of the world’s generation by 2050.
Seb Henbest, the head of Europe, Africa and the Middle East for BNEF who is also a lead author of NEO 2018 explained the advantages brought by cheap battery storage. Seb said the advent of these batteries will increase the possibility to finesse the delivery of electricity from solar and wind. These technologies can, therefore, facilitate the meeting of energy demands even when the sun is not shining and the wind is not blowing. The result of all this is that renewables will be taking more and more of the positions of the market of gas, coal, and nuclear.
According to the report that made use of more than 65 global analysts speculates that about £8.7 trillion will be invested in new power generation across the globe between 2018 and 2050. An approximate of 6.3 trillion of that will be going to solar and wind.
This will see a global 17-fold surge in solar PV capacity and a 6-fold increase in wind power capacity. Predictions show the LCOE will drop by 71% for solar PV and 58% for onshore wind. Solar and wind experienced a fall of 77% and 41% respectively from 2009 to 2018.
With the incorporation of cheaper battery storage in this capacity expansion, coal will inevitably be eliminated from the system. These together with affordable solar panels UK cost, there’s a likelihood renewable energy will become a default option by 2050.
Coal according to the head of energy economics at BNEF, Elena Giannakopoulou will be the biggest loser at the end. It is beaten by wind and PV systems for bulk electricity generation and batteries and gas for flexibility. Of course, gas will be beaten for by solar and wind for renewability and cost but will continue to be used as a backup for renewables as the energy sector shifts to solar, wind and batteries.
Vivid Economics made a UK-focused study and came up with similar findings as BNEF. According to Vivid Economics, solar and wind could provide over 60% of total electricity by 2030 with the support of battery storage, demand response technologies as well as peaking generators when the need arises.