‘The race for renewable energy has just passed a turning point. The world is now adding more capacity for renewable power each year than coal, natural gas and oil combined. And there’s no going back’.
‘The shift occurred in 2013, when the world added 143 gigawatts of renewable electricity capacity, compared with 141 gigawatts in new plants that burn fossil fuels. The shift will continue to accelerate and by 2030 more than four times as much renewable capacity will be added’.
‘The price of wind and solar power continues to plummet and is now on par or cheaper than grid electricity in many areas of the world. Solar, the newest major source of energy in the mix, makes up less than 1% of the electricity market today but could be the world’s biggest source by 2050, according to the International Energy agency’.
‘The question is not if the world will transition to cleaner energy, but how long it will take’.
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One can debate the degree to which global warming is a natural phenomenon as opposed to having been triggered to some degree by rapid industrialisation and global population growth since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution in the 18th Century. What is not in doubt is the marked trend in electricity generation worldwide towards the use of renewable generation.
Here in NZ, there is considerable debate about what would happen if the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter was to close during the coming decade. This would free up over 10% of existing total national electricity generation for use by other customers. Based on the global trends highlighted above it would probably result in the retirement of a significant amount of existing non-renewables based generation and hence limit any supply/demand reduction in market energy rates nationally.