Renewables require less incentive money – because

Having read a good news story that renewables require less incentive money because they are very successful, it is then you will notice other media is displaying it as a negative. We suspect the matter will always be reported ‘on balance’ – code for a licence to adjust for the audience. So which story do you want to hear? Is your glass half empty or half full?

Example one: “Global investment in renewables fell by 14% during 2013, but the percentage of electricity generated by renewable sources still grew, a report shows. It said investment fell for the second year in a row because of cheaper technology, but also as a result of uncertainty surrounding energy policy. However, falling costs meant renewables accounted for 8.5% of the global electricity mix, up from 7.8% in 2012. Renewables accounted for 43.6% of newly installed generation capacity in 2013.”

Unfortunately the above is reported as a negative, and actually was a good news story. The good news is – renewables have continued to get cheaper and the industry built more Gigawatt capacity with less dollars. If you continue to research you would notice:
Globally, renewables – excluding large hydro -accounted for 43.6 per cent of newly installed generating capacity in 2013.

Also the costs of generating electricity via onshore wind turbines and crystalline silicon PV systems have fallen by some 15% and 53% respectively since the third quarter of 2009. This means increasingly, the competitiveness of wind and solar compared to conventional options for generation of energy – such as coal-fired power stations, gas or diesel generators, or nuclear reactors. Other evidence is also supplied by the NSW Government that this is a fact. Globally, an increasing number of wind and solar projects are being built without any subsidy support. Especially noted is Latin America, the Middle East and Africa.

Example two: ”The global power utility market is currently undergoing an increase in capital expenditures. Increasing power demands, aging infrastructure, new energy sources and regulatory pressures are contributing to this growth in capital spending and projects.”

Coupling these factors with the staffing constraints of many utilities often results in difficultly completing this increase in workload. However, with these challenges come opportunities to evaluate and create more efficient project delivery models.

The report – Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2014 – was produced by the United Nations Environment Programme (Unep) and Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The assessment said the US $214.4bn (£129.2bn) worldwide investment in the renewable sector during 2013 was 23% below the 2011 record. One of the report’s lead editors, UN energy expert Eric Usher, described 2013 as a “mixed year” for global renewable energy. Identifying the reasons behind the fall in investment, he explained: “One of the major factors was the fall in the cost of equipment. “Another negative factor was a touch of policy uncertainty, which saw investors delay spending their money.” He told BBC News that the fall in the cost of the clean energy technologies – particularly solar – had “left some governments thinking that they had been paying too much and reviewed their subsidies”.

Mr Usher added that while some nations, such as Germany, had been able to adapt very quickly, “other nations have not handled it quite so well, causing nervousness among investors”. He explained that for a number of years, there was overcapacity in the sector and supply was greater than demand, making it difficult for firms to record a profit. But lower costs, improved efficiencies and market consolidation had allowed companies to return to profitability. Mr Usher observed that there were a number of positive signs during 2013, including the fact that the renewable energy sectors in a number of nations, particularly in Latin America, were able to grow completely free of government subsidies. He added: “For the first time in 2013, China installed more new generation capacity using renewables than fossil fuels. “So it is a good sign for the sector that the world’s largest emerging economy is taking the sector very seriously indeed.” Responding to the assessment, Unep executive director Achim Steiner said: “A long-term shift in investment over the next few decades towards a cleaner energy portfolio is needed to avoid dangerous climate change, with the energy sector accounting for around two-thirds of total greenhouse gas emissions. “The fact that renewable energy is gaining a bigger share of overall generation globally is encouraging. To support this further, we must re-evaluate investment priorities, shift incentives, build capacity and improve governance structures.” The report’s findings are being presented to a Future of Energy Summit in New York, US, which runs until Wednesday – article attributed to Mark Kinver (BBC News), 7th April, 2014.

For more on the article please visit http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-26923260

If you take the time to read this report you will notice it is a good news story, equipment prices are falling, and therefore not a much is needed to be spent to implement. So investment needed was 23% lower in 2013 compared to 2011. In example 1 the story said prices have fallen by as much as 53% for solar equipment. This can be construed by the shrewd to askew what ever story you want. Enough to sit you ‘Bolt’ upright hey Andrew?

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