Renewable energy is increasingly a success story in emerging and developing markets. Last year, they were leading in green energy investments. China will have added around 54 gigawatts (GW) of solar PV capacity in 2017 — three times more than any other country has ever done, which tops China’s total amount to 120 GW of solar PV installed capacity. India is catching up too, as its government announced it would tender enough renewable energy projects to surpass 200 GW of new green capacity by 2022. According to financial analysts, by 2020 renewables will have become the cheapest form of power generation.
A global power system fully based on renewable energy is no longer a long-term vision, but a tangible reality. Yet critics of renewable energy and fossil fuels, as well as nuclear lobbyists, often use solar and wind fluctuations as their major argument to hold on to the old system.
A new groundbreaking study by the Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT) and the Energy Watch Group (EWG) refutes this argument once and for all.
The first of its kind study* simulates a global electricity system based entirely on renewable energy on an hourly basis throughout a whole year. Its results prove that the existing renewable energy potential and technologies, including storage, are able to generate sufficient and secure power supply worldwide by 2050. Under favorable political conditions, a full decarbonization and nuclear phase-out of the global electricity system can succeed even earlier than that.
The study proves that 100% renewable electricity is more cost effective than the existing system, which is largely based on fossil fuels and nuclear energy. Total levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) on a global average for 100% renewable electricity will decline to 52 €/MWh (megawatt-hour) by 2050 (including curtailment, storage and some grid costs), compared to 70 €/MWh in 2015.
Due to rapidly falling costs, solar PV and battery storage will increasingly drive most of the electricity system, with solar PV reaching some 69%, wind energy 18%, hydropower 8% and bioenergy 2% of the total electricity mix in 2050 globally.