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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Bloomberg: Renewables investment to triple by 2030, but...

Bloomberg reports today that steeply declining costs of wind and solar power - that resulted in high-profile and highly politicized bankruptcies of some renewable manufacturers - is forecasted by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) to spur a tripling of investment in renewables by 2030 and means renewables would account for half of all generation capacity by 2030.

The article quotes Michael Liebreich, chief executive officer of New Energy Finance: “The apocalyptic views about what it will cost to shift the world to renewable energy simply aren’t true.” “Three years ago, we thought wind and solar would be cheap as chips, and they’ve even gone below that.” Indeed, the cost of solar panels has fallen by half since 2010, and the price of wind turbines is down a quarter since 2009, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Despite reduced government subsidies, more projects are being built.

This optimistic report comes a week after a “wake-up call” on renewables from the International Energy Administration. But the two reports are not fundamentally in conflict. Even at 50% renewable penetration by 2030, we will still be on a path that far exceeds the internationally-agreed target of limiting global warming to 2 degrees Centigrade.  We need investment in renewables – as IEA said – to triple NOW to prevent catastrophic warming. We also need the policies to get us there.

April 24 Update: For more, see this report on BNEF's prediction of peak fossil fuels by 2030.

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