Boom! 10% of U.S. electricity from wind and solar in March

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Wind and solar power will generate a third of global electricity needs by 2040 thanks to more than $6 trillion of investment, forecasts suggest (Emily Gosden writes).

Offshore wind costs are set to fall by 71% by 2040, according to a new report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). As a result, renewables will account for nearly three quarters of the $10.2 trillion that is expected to be invested in new power generation around the world by 2040 to meet a forecast 58 per cent increase in demand. The growth is backed up by impressive job creation, with solar employment expanding past year 17 times faster than the total USA economy.

By 2040, wind and solar will make up nearly half of the world's installed generation capacity, up from just 12 percent now, and account for 34 percent of all the power generated, compared with 5 percent at the moment, BNEF concluded. Overall, about 7 percent of US electricity comes from wind and solar annually, up from less than 1 percent a decade ago. The decline is even more pronounced in the West: coal consumption fell by 8.8 percent in the US during 2016, and as much as 52.5 percent in the United Kingdom.

Tri Global Energy, a USA based wind energy company, announced the sale of assets of the 80 megawatts (MW) Fiber Winds Energy Project located in Crosby County, Texas to Lorenzo Wind, a wholly owned subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources, a renewable energy power company in North America. Further, of that $10.2 trillion, BNEF expects 28% and 11% of all investment to be funneled into China and India, respectively.

- At least $239 billion will be invested in lithium-ion batteries, making energy storage devices a practical way to keep homes and power grids supplied efficiently and spreading the use of electric cars. Charging EVs flexibly, when renewables are generating and wholesale prices are low, will help the system adapt to intermittent solar and wind. Global coal-fired generation peaks in 2026 with demand growth from Asia peaking in 2024. In the Americas, however, where gas is plentiful and cheap, it plays a more central role, especially in the near term.

But it says if the Paris process moves global economies closer to a 2 degree pathway, Australia will need to pledge a deeper emissions reduction target than this, and actually put some policies in place.

From the chart, we can see that wind and solar energy have been increasing at astounding rates since 2007, with wind accounting for 8% of the total and being the predominant method for generating clean energy nationwide. Of this, wind projects have contributed 7,603GWh reducing carbon emissions by 7.7Mt.

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