As the amount of renewable energy in global electricity networks continues to surge, a new question arises – when will renewables become the dominant source of energy?
A new report, the Lloyd’s Register 2018 Technology Radar, examines this issue and also looks at which technologies are likely to have the biggest impact in different countries and what are the key drivers and barriers to success.
A survey of 800 key industry figures found that China would be the first country to achieve grid parity, in 2022, followed by Spain and the United Arab Emirates two years later in 2024. This is the same year that Germany and the UK are expected to see grid parity for wind power, followed a year later by Denmark and the USA. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) said recently that clean energy sources will be cheaper than fossil fuels by 2020.
Although a tenth of respondents said that renewables have already overtaken fossil fuels in their country, or will do so in the next two years, more than half (58%) believe that renewables will not be cost-competitive with conventional electricity generation until after 2025.
And while the cost of building utility-scale solar facilities has more than halved in the last decade, some 62% of respondents told the engineering and technology consultancy that the high cost of renewables was still the main barrier to expanding clean energy capacity.
In addition, while in many places onshore wind is already the cheapest form of energy, more than 45% of respondents said that opposition to onshore wind turbines in their countries was too strong to allow the sector to grow significantly. In Europe, 55% offered this view, even though in the UK, for example, support for onshore wind regularly tops 70% in surveys on the issue.
There was strong agreement in the report (71% of those questioned) that the business case for renewables will be boosted more by technological advances in the next five years than by policy or regulatory changes . Indeed, more than a third of those surveyed said that policy inconsistency is one of the biggest barriers to the sector’s growth. Demand-side technologies such as advanced metering infrastructure, demand response management (DRM) systems, networked sensors and accurate asset monitoring data to are among the technologies that are expected to bring the biggest improvements in performance.
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