NewEnergyNews: TODAY’S STUDY, June 12: The Big Picture On Global New Energy Right Now

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The challenge now: To make every day Earth Day.

YESTERDAY

  • TODAY’S STUDY: Big Growth In Customer-Sited Wind
  • QUICK NEWS, August 15: New Forest To Offset Bad U.S. Climate Policies Has 120,000 Pledges; Wind Becoming The Go-To Power; 88,000 Jobs And The Fight Over Solar Imports
  • THE DAY BEFORE

  • TODAY’S STUDY: The Work On Tomorrow’s Grid So Far
  • QUICK NEWS, August 14: Climate Is The Elephant In The Room; Long-Term, NatGas Is Not The Answer; Why Wind Is Such A Good Choice
  • THE DAY BEFORE THE DAY BEFORE

  • Weekend Video: Al Gore Talks With Bill Maher
  • Weekend Video: The U.S. Celebrates Its First National Wind Week
  • Weekend Video: Wind Is Just Beginning To Show Its Power
  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Five Countries Leading The Climate Fight
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Global Wind Spend To Soar
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Pakistan’s Global View On Solar
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Denmark Trial Proves EVs Can Support The Grid
  • AND THE DAY BEFORE THAT

    THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT THURSDAY, August 10:

  • TTTA Thursday-Why Greenland Burning Is Cause For Fear
  • TTTA Thursday-Wind Power Booming
  • TTTA Thursday-IKEA To Offer Solar
  • TTTA Thursday-EV Growth Ready To Explode
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: Research Shows Ongoing Need To Value Customer-Sited Resources
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: Details On New York’s Landmark Work To Value Customer-Sited Resources
  • --------------------------

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    Founding Editor Herman K. Trabish

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    Research Associate and Contributing Editor Jessica R. Wunder

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    Some details about NewEnergyNews and the man behind the curtain: Herman K. Trabish, Agua Dulce, CA., Doctor with my hands, Writer with my head, Student of New Energy and Human Experience with my heart

    email: herman@NewEnergyNews.net

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    Pay a visit to the HARRY BOYKOFF page at Basketball Reference, sponsored by NewEnergyNews and Oil In Their Blood.

  • ---------------
  • TODAY AT NewEnergyNews, August 16:

  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: Organizing California’s Distributed Energy Efforts
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: A Deep Look At Evolving U.S. Efforts To Support Solar

    Monday, June 12, 2017

    TODAY’S STUDY, June 12: The Big Picture On Global New Energy Right Now

    Renewables 2017 Global Status Report

    June 2017 (Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21ST Century)

    Global Overview

    Forecasting of electricity production and demand is essential for operating power systems. A number of tools are used to forecast generation in solar PV and wind plants, ranging from a few minutes to several days in advance. Today, these have a high level of reliability, enabling system operation to adapt efficiently to upcoming changes.

    The year 2016 saw several developments and ongoing trends that all have a bearing on renewable energy, including the continuation of comparatively low global fossil fuel prices; dramatic price reductions of several renewable energy technologies (especially solar PV and wind power); and a continued increase in attention to energy storage.

    World primary energy demand has grown by an annual average of around 1.8% since 2011, although the pace of growth has slowed in the past few years, with wide variations by country.1 Growth in primary energy demand has occurred largely in developing countries, whereas in developed countries it has slowed or even declined.2

    For the third consecutive year, global energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil fuels and industry were nearly flat in 2016, rising only an estimated 0.2%, continuing to break away from the trend of 2.2% average growth during the previous decade.3 This slowing of emissions growth was due largely to declining coal use worldwide but also to improvements in energy efficiency and to increasing power generation from renewable energy sources.4 Globally, coal production declined for the second year in a row.5 In 2016, additional countries committed to moving away from or phasing out coal for electricity generation (e.g., Canada, Finland, France, the Netherlands and the US state of Oregon) or to no longer financing coal use (e.g., Brazil’s development bank).6 Countering this trend, however, a number of countries announced plans to expand coal production and use.7

    Despite the overall decline in coal production, relatively low global prices for oil and natural gas during much of the year continued to challenge renewable energy markets, especially in the heating and transport sectors.8 Fossil fuel subsidies, which remained significantly higher than subsidies for renewables, also continued to affect renewable energy growth.9 Building on international commitments to phase out fossil fuel subsidies – such as the 2009 commitments by the Group of Twenty (G20) and by Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) – by the end of 2016 more than 50 countries had committed to phasing out fossil fuel subsidies.10 Subsidy reforms were instituted during 2016 in Angola, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Egypt, Gabon, India, Iran, Kuwait, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Ukraine, Venezuela and Zambia.11

    As of 2015, renewable energy provided an estimated 19.3%i of global final energy consumption. Of this total share, traditional biomass, used primarily for cooking and heating in remote and rural areas of developing countries, accounted for about 9.1%, and modern renewables (not including traditional biomass) increased their share relative to 2014 to approximately 10.2%. In 2015, hydropower accounted for an estimated 3.6% of total final energy consumption, other renewable power sources comprised 1.6%, renewable heat energy accounted for approximately 4.2%, and transport biofuels provided about 0.8%.

    The overall share of renewable energy in total final energy consumption has increased only modestly in recent history, despite tremendous growth in the renewable energy sector, particularly for solar PV and wind power. A primary reason for this is the persistently strong growth in overall energy demand (with the exception of a momentary pull-back in 2009 following the onset of a global economic recession), which counteracts the strong forward momentum for modern renewable energy technologies. In addition, the use of traditional biomass for heat, which makes up nearly half of all renewable energy use, has increased, but at a rate that has not kept up with growth in total demand.

    In 2016, the power sector experienced the greatest increases in renewable energy capacity, whereas the growth of renewables in the heating and cooling and transport sectors was comparatively slow. (→ See Reference Table R1.) As in 2015, most growth in renewable energy capacity was in solar PV (which led by a wide margin) and in wind power; hydropower continued to represent the majority of renewable power capacity and generation. Bioenergy (including traditional biomass) remained the leader by far in the heat (buildings and industry) and transport sectors.

    Growth rates of renewable energy capacity vary substantially across regions and nations, with most new capacity being installed in developing countries, and primarily in China.14 China has been the single largest developer of renewable power and heat for the past eight years.15 In 2016, an ever-growing number of developing countries continued to expand their renewable energy capacities, and some are rapidly becoming important markets. Emerging economies are quickly transforming their energy industries by benefiting from lower-cost, more efficient renewable technologies and more reliable resource forecasting, making countries such as Argentina, Chile, China, India and Mexico attractive markets for investment.16Nonetheless, some unique challenges remained in developing countries during the year, including a lack of infrastructure and of power sector planning, as well as off-taker risks.17

    At the national, state and local levels, government policy continued to play an important role in renewable energy developments, although uncertainty in the policy arena also created challenges.18 The number of countries with renewable energy targets and support policies increased again in 2016; targets were in place in 176 countries (up from 173 in 2015), and several jurisdictions made their existing targets more ambitious. (→ See Policy Landscape chapter.) Despite the significance of the heat and transport sectors to energy demand and global emissions, policy makers continued to focus predominantly on the power sector.19

    At the global level, the 2015 Paris Agreement of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) formally entered into force at the 22nd Conference of the Parties (COP22) in Marrakesh, Morocco in November 2016.20 Renewable energy figured prominently in a large portion of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) that countries submitted in the lead-up to November.21Renewable energy markets were affected only indirectly by these developments during 2016; more concrete policy developments resulting from commitments to the Paris Agreement and new announcements had not yet been enacted and/or implemented in most countries.22

    Other international efforts of note also took place during the year. At COP22, leaders of the 48 nations that constitute the Climate Vulnerable Forum jointly committed to work towards achieving 100% renewable energy in their respective nations.23 Cities around the world echoed this pledge as they continued to advance commitments to 100% renewable energy, with some already having achieved their goals. (→ See Policy Landscape chapter.)

    The World Trade Organization continued negotiations on the Environmental Goods Agreement, which seeks to eliminate tariffs on a number of products including renewable energy technologies, although discussions stalled in December.

    Carbon pricing policies (either carbon taxes or emissions trading systems) were in place in a number of jurisdictions worldwide in 2016.25 (→ See Figure 3.) If well designed, carbon pricing policies may incentivise the development and deployment of renewable energy technologies by increasing the comparative costs of higher-emission fuels and technologies. However, some uncertainty exists as to whether these mechanisms alone are sufficient to drive deployment of renewable energy, even if well-designed, due to other factors at play, including the structure of power markets and regulations governing market access.

    In parallel with growth in renewable energy markets, renewable energy employment expanded during 2016. The number of jobs in renewables rose again, reaching an estimated 9.8 million jobs worldwide – a majority of which were in Asia.27 (→ See Sidebar 1.)

    The year also saw continued advances in renewable energy technologies, including innovations in solar PV manufacturing and installation and in cell and module efficiency and performance; improvements in wind turbine materials and design as well as in operation and maintenance (O&M), which further reduced costs and raised capacity factors; advances in thermal energy storage for concentrating solar thermal power (CSP); new advanced control technologies for electric grids that facilitate increased integration of renewable energy; and improvements in the production of advanced biofuels.28

    Ongoing advances in energy efficiency are reducing the cost of providing energy services with renewable energy, whether on-grid or off-grid. (→ See Sidebar 3 and Energy Efficiency chapter.) As penetrations of variable renewable energy continued to increase in 2016, there also was increased attention to energy storage, particularly in the power sector.29 Electric vehicles, valued for their contribution to improving local air quality, gained attention in some markets for their ability to help integrate variable renewable electricity generation. (→ See Enabling Technologies chapter.)

    Modern renewable energy is being used increasingly in power generation, heating and cooling, and transport. The following sections discuss 2016 developments and trends in these sectors.

    Power

    Renewable power generating capacity saw its largest annual increase ever in 2016, with an estimated 161 gigawatts (GW) of capacity added.30 Total global renewable power capacity was up almost 9% compared to 2015, to nearly 2,017 GW at year’s end.31 Solar PV saw record additions and, for the first time, accounted for more additional power capacity (net of decommissioned capacity) than any other generating technology.32 Solar PV represented about 47% of newly installed renewable power capacity in 2016, and wind and hydropower accounted for most of the remainder, contributing about 34% and 15.5%, respectively.

    The world now adds more renewable power capacity annually than it adds (net) capacity from all fossil fuels combined.34 In 2016, renewables accounted for an estimated nearly 62% of net additions to global power generating capacity and represented far higher shares of capacity added in several countries around the world.35 By year’s end, renewables comprised an estimated 30% of the world’s power generating capacity – enough to supply an estimated 24.5% of global electricity, with hydropower providing about 16.6%.

    By the end of 2016, the top countries for total installed renewable electric capacity continued to be China, the United States, Brazil, Germany and Canada.37 China was home to more than one-quarter of the world’s renewable power capacity – totalling approximately 564 GW, including about 305 GW of hydropower.38

    Considering only non-hydroi capacity, the top countries were China, the United States and Germany; they were followed by Japan, India and Italy, and by Spain and the United Kingdom (with about equal amounts of capacity by year’s end).39 (→ See Figure 5 and Reference Table R2.) The world’s top countries for non-hydro renewable power capacity per inhabitant were Iceland, Denmark, Sweden and Germany.

    The year 2016 saw several developments and ongoing trends that all have a bearing on renewable energy, including the continuation of comparatively low global fossil fuel prices; dramatic price reductions of several renewable energy technologies (especially solar PV and wind power); and a continued increase in attention to energy storage.

    World primary energy demand has grown by an annual average of around 1.8% since 2011, although the pace of growth has slowed in the past few years, with wide variations by country.1 Growth in primary energy demand has occurred largely in developing countries, whereas in developed countries it has slowed or even declined.2

    For the third consecutive year, global energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil fuels and industry were nearly flat in 2016, rising only an estimated 0.2%, continuing to break away from the trend of 2.2% average growth during the previous decade.3 This slowing of emissions growth was due largely to declining coal use worldwide but also to improvements in energy efficiency and to increasing power generation from renewable energy sources.4 Globally, coal production declined for the second year in a row.5 In 2016, additional countries committed to moving away from or phasing out coal for electricity generation (e.g., Canada, Finland, France, the Netherlands and the US state of Oregon) or to no longer financing coal use (e.g., Brazil’s development bank).6 Countering this trend, however, a number of countries announced plans to expand coal production and use.7

    Despite the overall decline in coal production, relatively low global prices for oil and natural gas during much of the year continued to challenge renewable energy markets, especially in the heating and transport sectors.8 Fossil fuel subsidies, which remained significantly higher than subsidies for renewables, also continued to affect renewable energy growth.9 Building on international commitments to phase out fossil fuel subsidies – such as the 2009 commitments by the Group of Twenty (G20) and by Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) – by the end of 2016 more than 50 countries had committed to phasing out fossil fuel subsidies.10 Subsidy reforms were instituted during 2016 in Angola, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Egypt, Gabon, India, Iran, Kuwait, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Ukraine, Venezuela and Zambia.11

    As of 2015, renewable energy provided an estimated 19.3%i of global final energy consumption. Of this total share, traditional biomass, used primarily for cooking and heating in remote and rural areas of developing countries, accounted for about 9.1%, and modern renewables (not including traditional biomass) increased their share relative to 2014 to approximately 10.2%. In 2015, hydropower accounted for an estimated 3.6% of total final energy consumption, other renewable power sources comprised 1.6%, renewable heat energy accounted for approximately 4.2%, and transport biofuels provided about 0.8%.12 (→ See Figure 1.)

    The overall share of renewable energy in total final energy consumption has increased only modestly in recent history, despite tremendous growth in the renewable energy sector, particularly for solar PV and wind power. A primary reason for this is the persistently strong growth in overall energy demand (with the exception of a momentary pull-back in 2009 following the onset of a global economic recession), which counteracts the strong forward momentum for modern renewable energy technologies. In addition, the use of traditional biomass for heat, which makes up nearly half of all renewable energy use, has increased, but at a rate that has not kept up with growth in total demand.13 (→ See Figure 2.)

    In 2016, the power sector experienced the greatest increases in renewable energy capacity, whereas the growth of renewables in the heating and cooling and transport sectors was comparatively slow. (→ See Reference Table R1.) As in 2015, most growth in renewable energy capacity was in solar PV (which led by a wide margin) and in wind power; hydropower continued to represent the majority of renewable power capacity and generation. Bioenergy (including traditional biomass) remained the leader by far in the heat (buildings and industry) and transport sectors.

    Growth rates of renewable energy capacity vary substantially across regions and nations, with most new capacity being installed in developing countries, and primarily in China.14 China has been the single largest developer of renewable power and heat for the past eight years.15 In 2016, an ever-growing number of developing countries continued to expand their renewable energy capacities, and some are rapidly becoming important markets. Emerging economies are quickly transforming their energy industries by benefiting from lower-cost, more efficient renewable technologies and more reliable resource forecasting, making countries such as Argentina, Chile, China, India and Mexico attractive markets for investment.16Nonetheless, some unique challenges remained in developing countries during the year, including a lack of infrastructure and of power sector planning, as well as off-taker risks.17

    At the national, state and local levels, government policy continued to play an important role in renewable energy developments, although uncertainty in the policy arena also created challenges.18 The number of countries with renewable energy targets and support policies increased again in 2016; targets were in place in 176 countries (up from 173 in 2015), and several jurisdictions made their existing targets more ambitious. (→ See Policy Landscape chapter.) Despite the significance of the heat and transport sectors to energy demand and global emissions, policy makers continued to focus predominantly on the power sector.19

    At the global level, the 2015 Paris Agreement of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) formally entered into force at the 22nd Conference of the Parties (COP22) in Marrakesh, Morocco in November 2016.20 Renewable energy figured prominently in a large portion of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) that countries submitted in the lead-up to November.21Renewable energy markets were affected only indirectly by these developments during 2016; more concrete policy developments resulting from commitments to the Paris Agreement and new announcements had not yet been enacted and/or implemented in most countries…

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