Renewables Take Off

Renewable Energies not only avoid Carbon Dioxide - they Change the Energy Industry

The paradigm change mainly comes from the way electricity is produced. The transformation from fossils to renewables has three major consequences: 

  • Unlike plants using fossil energy (stored in coal, oil or gas), wind and solar plants produce when weather allows (increasing volatility).
  • Production plants are smaller and more decentral which changes grid topology and structure (change of location, connection and voltage of transporting lines).
  • Smaller plant sizes with lower investment cost or their location on private property lead to more private than utility ownership (change of ownership and funding).

"Renewable energy provided an estimated 19% of global final energy consumption in 2012 and continued to grow in 2013"1. While renewable energy growth was driven by political considerations and decisions in the past, cost reduction this has caused is now increasingly taking over as the driver of renewables.

In addition to renewable energy (RE) feeding into large grids, a new application segment emerges: the diesel substitution market. Electricity from sun and wind can be fed into these grids at lower cost than that produced in diesel plants, so grid parity has already been surpassed there. This means that these are early markets for renewable energy. Most islands depend on diesel to supply electricity, so higher shares of RE lower their global energy cost. They have similar challenges to integrate renewables as large continental grids and also benefit from our approach. “The photovoltaic (PV) potential of the Sunbelt countries – where PV can already compete with diesel generators for peak power generation without financial support – could range from 60 to 250 GW by 2020, and from 260 to 1,100 GW in 2030.”2

  1. REN21 Renewable 2014 – Global Status Report – Key Findings. 2014, p5.
  2. EPIA : Global Market Outlook – For Photovoltaic 2014-2018. 2014, p18