Saturday, May 17, 2014

Solar Likely to Become Dominant Source of Energy Globally by 2050, IEA Forecasts

Daily Dispatch for a System with Annual PV Electricity Share of 18%. (Credit: Click to enlarge.
The International Energy Agency says solar energy – a combination of solar PV and concentrated solar thermal with storage – is likely to become the dominant source of energy across the world, accounting for more than 27 per cent of all electricity produced by 2050.

The IEA says its core scenarios for reaching climate targets by 2050 call for 68 per cent of generation to be sourced from renewable energy, but in the (increasingly likely) event that carbon capture and storage and nuclear cannot take up their imagined shares, then the IEA has painted a “high renewables” scenario where solar takes an even greater role.

This might sound like some mighty radical thinking from what is one of the world’s most conservative energy organisations (it was established in the 1970s to devise policies to ensure a continuation of oil supplies), but in reality it is not.

Solar PV, for instance, is likely to expand way behind even the IEA’s most bullish scenarios, as a result of widespread deployment and continuing cost cuts.  The IEA suggests that solar PV could account for 16 per cent of global generation by 2050, although this would require an average of more than 116GW of solar PV to be deployed over that time.

Its estimates, however, seem conservative given that most private forecasters suggest that the solar industry will reach 100GW installation a year anyway by 2017 or 2018, and capacity is likely to grow further beyond that.  Its “vanilla” scenario for reaching its climate goals require just an average of 67GW of solar PV to be installed a year.  The solar market is likely to reach that figure in 2015.

Solar Likely to Become Dominant Source of Energy Globally by 2050, IEA Forecasts

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