Jun 27, 2022 News
Kaieteur News – The International Energy Agency (IEA) World Energy Outlook (WOE) 2020 had projected that the world’s best solar power schemes offer the “cheapest… electricity in history” being 20 to 50 percent cheaper than coal and gas.
The IEA had stated that in every year from 2020, there will be record-breaking additions of new solar capacity. In fact, the agency’s remarks are being proven as recently, the world has been pushing to transition towards renewable energy. In fact, taking its lead from Germany, the European Union (EU) has signaled its intention to embrace renewable energy much faster than was planned, a direct result of the war being waged between Russian and Ukraine. Russia provides much of Europe with its Natural Gas.
As such, the EU is now looking in the interim to make its purchases from other sources, such as Israel but even those supplies would not be adequate leading to the now stated position of accelerating its push towards renewable sources of energy such as solar, wind and hydro among other forms of new clean energy technology being developed.
To this end, the EU, Israel and Egypt recently signed a tripartite natural gas export deal as the bloc seeks to diversify away from Russian energy. The deal, finalised at the East Mediterranean regional energy conference in Cairo, will allow “significant” exports of Israeli gas to Europe for the first time, the Israeli energy ministry said.
Coming on heels as the world is pushing to transition towards renewable energy, the President of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), Dr. Hyginus ‘Gene’ Leon, has recently underscored the urgent need for the Caribbean to accelerate the transition to renewable energy. Notably, the Government of Barbados inked a deal that in the near future will see the country realising some 178 megawatts of electricity using hydrogen and solar energy at a cost of some US$100M, while in Ethiopia, that country will soon realise 6,500 MW of hydro power electricity at a cost of just over US$600,000 per MW.
With the world on a pathway towards reducing carbon emissions as a result of burning fossil fuels primarily for electricity generation and transportation, Barbados is now leading the Caribbean region with the announcement that it will soon be building the largest clean hybrid power plant in the Caribbean, producing base load power for 16,000 Barbadian households from solar and locally produced green hydrogen.
Moreover, the IEA had pointed out that 43% more solar output is expected by 2040, which is more than it had projected for in 2018; partly due to detailed 2020 analysis showing that solar power is 20-50% cheaper than thought. However, it had noted that the demand for gas could rise 30% by 2040, unless the policy response to global warming steps up.
Notably, it was stated that in the best locations and with access to the most favorable policy support and finance, solar can generate electricity “at or below” $20 per megawatt hour (MWh). According to the report, “For projects with low-cost financing that tap high-quality resources, solar PV is now the cheapest source of electricity in history.”
It had also reported that the new utility-scale solar projects cost $30-60/MWh in Europe and the US and just $20-40/MWh in China and India. These costs “are entirely below the range of LCOE [levelised costs] for new coal-fired power plants” and “in the same range” as the operating cost of existing coal plants in China and India, the IEA had stated.
Additionally, it was also highlighted that electricity generation from non-hydro renewables in 2040 is projected to reach 12,872 terawatt hours (TWh) in the Stated Policies Scenario [STEPS], up from 2,873TWh. On the other hand, Guyana’s Vice President, Bharrat Jagdeo, who was one of six persons back in 2010 to receive the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Champion of the Earth – at his recent press conference claimed that the generation of power in Guyana through renewable options such as solar, wind and even hydro is “very, very expensive” when compared to the highly touted Gas-to-Energy (GTE) project which will cost billions of US dollars.
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