Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Solar Energy Could Be Largest Source of Global Electricity by 2050

Business

The sun could be the world’s largest source of electricity by 2050, ahead of fossil fuels, wind, hydro and nuclear, according to two new reports by the International Energy Agency (IEA).

The IEA has shown that solar could be the world’s largest source of electricity by 2050. Photo credit: Creative Commons/Lynn D. Rosentrater, 2009

The rapid growth of efficient concentrating solar thermal plants over the last four years. and the decreasing production costs of photovoltaic solar, means the renewable energy source could make up 27 percent of the world’s energy by 2050, according to two new IEA technology roadmaps.

Solar photovoltaic (PV) systems would account for to 16 percent, while Solar Thermal Electricity (STE) could provide an additional 11 percent.

Combined, these solar technologies could prevent so much carbon pollution—6 billion tons—that it would be equivalent of removing the pollution from the entire transport sector worldwide, or all the current energy-related carbon pollution in the U.S. today.

However, the IEA has stressed that this is not a ‘forecast,’ but rather a roadmap to enable change. Investment in solar power is crucial if the estimation is to become reality.

IEA executive director Maria van der Hoeven said:

“Both technologies are very capital intensive: almost all expenditures are made upfront. Lowering the cost of capital is thus of primary importance for achieving the vision in these roadmaps.”

The IEA’s message is clear, for this potential to be reached, world leaders will need to commit to phasing out harmful fossil fuels and phasing in renewable sources of energy—both boosting economies around the world, but also help to prevent the worst impacts of climate change.

The reports set out a series of policy scenarios needed to be in place for this transition to happen, stating there was a need for clear, credible, and consistent signals from policy makers, in order to lower deployment risks to investors and inspire confidence.

According to the reports, where there is a record of policy incoherence or confusion—dubbed ‘stop-and-go policy cycles’—investors end up paying more money, consumers will have greater costs for their energy, and many greatly needed projects will fail to take place.

Solar photovoltaic panels constitute the fastest growing renewable energy technology in the world since 2000, although solar is still less than 1 percent of energy capacity worldwide.

The IEA said PV expansion would be led by China, followed by the U.S., while STE could also grow in the U.S. along with Africa, India and the Middle East.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE:

Locally Owned Renewable Energy Benefits Community and Economy

Students Study Renewable Energy on Denmark’s Island of Samso

We Can Transition to 100% Renewable Energy Starting Today

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Pexels

By Zak Smith

It is pretty amazing that in this moment when the COVID-19 outbreak has much of the country holed up in their homes binging Netflix, the most watched show in America over the last few weeks has been focused on wildlife trade — which scientists believe is the source of the COVID-19 pandemic. Make no mistake: Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness is about wildlife trade and other aspects of wildlife exploitation, just as surely as the appearance of Ebola, SARS, MERS, avian flu and probably COVID-19 in humans is a result of wildlife exploitation. As a conservationist, this is one of the things I've been thinking about while watching Tiger King. Here are five more:

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Hector Chapa

With the coronavirus pandemic quickly spreading, U.S. health officials have changed their advice on face masks and now recommend people wear cloth masks in public areas where social distancing can be difficult, such as grocery stores.

But can these masks be effective?

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Jörg Carstensen / picture alliance via Getty Images

By Carey Gillam

Bayer AG is reneging on negotiated settlements with several U.S. law firms representing thousands of plaintiffs who claim exposure to Monsanto's Roundup herbicides caused them to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma, sources involved in the litigation said on Friday.

Read More Show Less
Tom Werner / DigitalVision / Getty Images

By Jillian Kubala, MS, RD

With many schools now closed due to the current COVID-19 outbreak, you may be looking for activities to keep your children active, engaged, and entertained.

Although numerous activities can keep kids busy, cooking is one of the best choices, as it's both fun and educational.

Read More Show Less
In Germany's Hunsrück village of Schorbach, numerous photovoltaic systems are installed on house roofs, on Sept. 19, 2019. Thomas Frey / Picture Alliance via Getty Images

Germany's target for renewable energy sources to deliver 65% of its consumed electricity by 2030 seemed on track Wednesday, with 52% of electricity coming from renewables in 2020's first quarter. Renewable energy advocates, however, warned the trend is imperiled by slowdowns in building new wind and solar plants.

Read More Show Less