Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Clean Energy Seeing Global ‘Renaissance’

Wind farm in Hawaii. (Credit: Wikipedia) Click to Enlarge.
Cheap oil, cheap natural gas and increasingly cheap renewables are ushering in an era of abundant energy — an energy renaissance — at a time when a changing climate demands that energy be used more efficiently and be as low-carbon as possible.

That is one of the central messages of the Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) Future of Energy Summit taking place this week in New York City.  Bloomberg analysts, government regulators and industry officials in attendance are debating how far renewable electricity has come as prices have fallen, and where it’s going as countries prepare for the Paris climate negotiations in December.

Renewables, mainly including hydropower, solar and wind, reached 28 percent of the total electric power supply in Germany in 2014, 19 percent in the United Kingdom, 22 percent in China, 76 percent in Brazil and 13 percent in the U.S., as investments in renewables increased more than 15 percent globally last year, BNEF Chairman Michael Liebreich said Tuesday.

“I haven’t heard the word ‘alternative energy’ in the last few years,” he said.  “This is not alternative when the world average (for renewables) is getting to 11 to 13 percent.  This is not alternative anymore.  And, it’s cheap.”

The cost of solar photovoltaic installations has fallen an estimated 59 percent since 2009, and the cost of onshore wind farms has fallen 11.5 percent, Bloomberg estimated in March.

Low-carbon energy gained ground even as crude oil prices plunged about 50 percent in 2014 as both shale oil and shale gas gushed onto the market thanks in part to the hydraulic fracturing boom in the U.S.

Read more at Clean Energy Seeing Global ‘Renaissance’

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