Renewables To Power Nearly Half of World Electricity By 2050

(October 28, 2019) — In 2018, 28% of global electricity was generated from renewable energy sources, writes the Energy Information Administration (EIA). Most of that generation, 96%, was produced by hydropower, wind, and solar technologies. In its International Energy Outlook 2019, EIA projects that renewables will collectively increase to 49% of world electricity generation by 2050. Of the top three renewable sources, the agency expects the share for solar generation to grow the fastest and hydroelectricity’s share to rise the slowest.
Renewables will generate 49% of world electricity by 2050 according to EIA reports BPN's exclusive Weekly Propane Newsletter the propane industry's trusted source for news and every LPG price around the country since 1939. Oct 28 2019
EIA’s international outlook includes analysis of eight countries and eight multi-country regions. Different regional- and technology-specific factors influence the growth rates of renewable technologies throughout the world. Resource availability, renewable policies, regional load growth, and declining technology costs drive EIA’s projected increase in global electricity generation from solar technologies. As more solar power systems have been installed, installation costs have experienced the steepest declines of all renewable technologies in recent years. EIA expects that they will continue to fall as a result of learning-by-doing effects.

In many regions, solar resources are also generally more abundant than wind resources, and typically follow predictable daily and seasonal generation patterns. Resource availability and predictability, and relatively simple plant construction technology, also support favor- able economics for solar photovoltaics, the most common solar-generation technology in EIA’s reference case.

EIA projects China will experience the most growth in solar generation because of its growing demand for electricity, favorable government policies, and competitive technology costs. Growth in solar generation is also strong in India, in European nations that are members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and in the U.S. All have near-term renewable policies in place.

Wind power is still a relatively new technology, and the declining capital costs it experiences as a result of learning-by-doing effects are not as steep as solar technologies. Wind technology adoption has significant growth potential, owing to many wind resource areas around the world remaining undeveloped. Similar to solar power, EIA forecasts that near-term renewable policies in India and OECD Europe will lead to wind generation growth in those areas. In China, wind is among the many sources meeting the country’s increasing demand for electricity.

Hydroelectricity was the predominant global renewable electricity generation source in 2018, but EIA expects relatively little growth in hydroelectric generation through 2050. Hydroelectricity is a mature technology, established in the 19th century, so many of the best sites for hydropower plants have already been developed. New hydro plants are not being built as rapidly as other renewable technologies because construction of new facilities is relatively disruptive and capital intensive. EIA forecasts China, Brazil, and OECD Europe nations will have the greatest growth in hydroelectric generation in 2050, noting they tend to have extensive and accessible hydropower resources.

(SOURCE: The Weekly Propane Newsletter, Oct. 28, 2019. Available by subscription. Photo: Brian Grimmett / Kansas News Service)