Solar and wind expected to supply third of global power by 2040

The falling costs of wind and solar power makes it very probable that it will provide 34% of the world’s electricity by 2040.


Reuters reports that $10.2 trillion will be invested in new global power generation between 2017 and 2040, with renewable power sources such as wind and solar accounting for almost three-quarters of that, according to a report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).

The report projects that a continuation of the trend that has seen the cost of wind power in the US drop 71% and solar 83% in the past nine years will mean the levelised cost of electricity fall by 47% for onshore wind and 66% for photo-voltaic solar by 2040, making them increasingly competitive against both coal and gas-fired power generation without government subsidies.



The new analysis gives a very different view from the projections set out by large oil companies such as ExxonMobil, the piece notes, whose most recent forecast is that all renewable sources excluding hydropower will provide just 11% of the world’s electricity in 2040.

The new BNEF analysis also expects global emissions of greenhouse gases from the power sector to peak in 2026, though they will still be some way above levels needed to limit temperature rises in line with the Paris climate agreement, says Reuters.

Inside Climate News focuses on the report’s forecast that coal prices will soon be so uncompetitive that coal-fired power will drop 51% by 2040.

Elsewhere, Grist reports that 10% of all of the electricity generated in the US in March came from wind and solar power, marking the first such milestone in U.S. history.

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