Solar the new 'king of electricity' as renewables make up bigger slice of supply - IEA

By Forrest Crellin
PARIS (Reuters) - Solar production is expected to lead to a surge in renewable energy supplies over the next decade, the International Energy Agency said, with renewable energy accounting for 80% of the growth in global power generation under current conditions.
In its annual World Energy Outlook on Tuesday, the IEA said in its key scenario - which reflects previously announced policy intentions and goals - that renewables will overtake coal as the primary means of generating electricity by 2025.
The combined share of solar photovoltaics (PV) and wind power in global generation will increase from 8% in 2019 to almost 30% in 2030, with solar PV capacity growing an average of 12% per year.
"I see solar becoming the new king of the world's power markets," said Fatih Birol, IEA Executive Director. "Based on today's policy settings, setting new records for deployment every year after 2022 is on track."
According to the IEA, sophisticated technologies and support mechanisms have reduced the financing costs for large solar PV projects and contributed to lowering production costs overall. In most countries, solar PV is cheaper than new coal or gas power plants.
Renewable power generation is the only major energy source that continued to grow in 2020, the Paris-based agency added.
In a more ambitious scenario, including the adoption of net-zero emissions targets by 2050, PV power generation would perform even better, the report said.
Despite the surge in solar and wind power, carbon emissions are expected to increase in 2021 after falling 2.4 gigatons (Gt) in 2020, and exceed 2019 levels in 2027, before rising to 36 Gt in 2030.
The IEA said that in many cases, gaps remain between long-term ambitions and specific short-term plans to reduce emissions.
The integration of new wind and solar energy will depend on adequate investment in all parts of the system, including distribution grids, the report added.
Loss of revenue, possibly due to unexpectedly low demand, non-payment of bills, or poor finances of utility companies in developing countries could make electricity grids a weak link.

(Reporting by Forrest Crellin; Editing by Jan Harvey)

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