1 March 2018
Clean Energy Powers Sustainable Cities as Fossil Fuel Companies Predict Further Growth in Renewables
UN Photo/Ariane Rummery
story highlights

Recent reports show that 102 cities around the world now source over 70% of their electricity from renewable energy, while the share of renewables in the US has increased to 18%.

The Irish Government announced plans to invest €22 billion on low-carbon infrastructure and climate resiliency by 2021.

Coal India expects falling cost of solar power and batteries to "significantly impact" coal demand.

BP's Energy Outlook predicts that renewable energy will grow by 400% by 2040 accounting for 14% of expected new global energy demand.

23 February 2018: Reports released this week announced growth in the deployment of renewable energy in the United States, Ireland and India, while BP’s latest Energy Outlook forecasts 400% growth in renewables by 2040, and CDP announced that over 100 cities are powered by at least 70% renewable energy.

102 Cities Powered by At Least 70% Renewables

The non-profit group CDP reported that 102 cities around the world now source over 70% of their electricity from renewable sources, inlcuding large cities such as Seattle, Vancouver, Nairobi, Aukland and Oslo. CDP also announced that 43 cities, including Reykjavik, Iceland, and the US city of Burlington, Vermont, now run on 100% renewable energy. Kyra Appleby, CDP Director of Cities, noted the importance of the news, given cities are responsible for roughly two-thirds of the world’s energy-related CO2 emissions. CDP released its analysis ahead of the Cities and Climate Change Science Conference, an international conference on the role of cities tackling climate change set to take place from 5-7 March. [CDP Analysis] [Climate Action News Report – CDP]

18% of electricity in the United States is now sourced from renewable energy.

Renewable energy also continues to make inroads at the national level. The Sustainable Energy in America Factbook finds that 18% of US electricity is now sourced from renewable energy. Prepared by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) and the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, the report shows that the share of renewables has doubled in ten years, increasing by 14% in 2017 alone as a result of greater quantities of available hydropower and 23 GW of added solar and wind capacity. The study also notes that natural gas generation was reduced by 8.1% in 2017, and coal declined by 3%. CO2 emissions of the power sector fell by 4.2%, reaching their lowest level in 27 years. Additionally, the report highlights that: the cost of power in the US fell to 1.3% of spending; the solar and wind sectors now employ 475,000 people; and the energy efficiency sector employs 2.2 million people. The Factbook also notes that US sales of electric vehicles increased 23%, while the cost of lithium-ion batteries declined by 23%. [Sustainable Energy in America Factbook] [Climate Action Programme News Report – US Renewables]

Ireland Plans to Spend €22 billion on Low Carbon Economy

The Irish Government announced its plan to invest €22 billion on low-carbon infrastructure and climate resiliency by 2021. Part of the Government’s new National Development Plan, the investment focuses on energy efficiency, renewables, agriculture, transport and climate adaptation. Specifically, the Government intends to upgrade 45,000 homes per year, integrate up to 4,500 MW of new renewable energy, deploy electric buses in urban areas, and create a €500 million Climate Action Fund to support climate adaptation projects. Additionally, the plan declares that coal and peat-fired power plants will “no longer have a role in electricity generation in Ireland” after 2030, as they will be replaced by wind, tidal or solar power, as well as bioenergy and hydrogen. [Ireland National Development Plan] [Climate Action News Report – Ireland]

“By 2040, renewable energy will grow by 400%” – BP Energy Outlook

BP’s yearly global energy forecast, the Energy Outlook, predicts that renewable energy will grow by 400% of current quantity, accounting for 14% of global energy demand by 2040. BP expects China to lead the expansion, followed by India and other developing countries. Significant reductions in wind and solar costs will drive this growth, according to BP, as renewables become competitive with other fuels in the mid 2020’s. The Energy Outlook also predicts a 10% increase in carbon emissions by 2040. Despite the rapid growth of renewables, BP projects that only 40% of new energy demand will be met by renewable energy.[BP Energy Outlook 2018] [Climate Action News Report – BP Energy Outlook]

Coal India Report Finds that Coal Demand will be ‘Substantially Decreased’ by Renewables

In an internal document circulated to stakeholders for consultation, India’s national coal mining company, Coal India, states that the falling cost of solar power and batteries is having a “significant impact” on the coal sector. The document concludes that “in the long run the demand [for coal in India] is likely to decrease substantially.” The report further asserts that, given the threat of climate change and the global funding focus on renewables, clean energy will eventually displace coal. Coal India predicts that renewable energy and storage will soon be cost competitive to Indian coal, ultimately serving as “key substitutes” to fossil fuels. The report includes recommendations as to how the industry can respond to new market forces, including by regularly reviewing the appropriate technology mix, and assessing impacts of new technologies on demand development. The document also projects significant advancements in energy efficiency and electric vehicles in the 2020’s. [Coal India – Coal Vision 2030] [Climate Action Program News Report – Coal India] [Climate Change News Report – Coal India]

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