Despite President Trump’s carbon addiction, renewable energy sources are set to take almost three quarters of the $10.2 trillion the world will invest in new power generating technology through to 2040, according to the New Energy Outlook report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The study also finds that the world’s carbon emissions are projected to peak in 2026 and will be 4% lower in 2040 than they were in 2016.
“This year’s report suggests that the greening of the world’s electricity system is unstoppable, thanks to rapidly falling costs for solar and wind power, and a growing role for batteries, including those in electric vehicles, in balancing supply and demand,” says Seb Henbest, lead author of the report.
“The NEO reflects the understanding our team has built up over more than a decade of how technology costs and system dynamics have evolved, and are evolving,” adds Jon Moore, chief executive of BNEF. “This year’s NEO shows an even more dramatic low-carbon transition than we have projected in previous years, with steeper drops in wind and solar costs and faster growth for storage.”
Coal-fired power is set to collapse in Europe and the US by 2026. Sluggish demand, cheap renewables and coal-to-gas fuel switching will slash coal use by 87% in Europe by 2040. In the US, coal use in power drops 45% as old plants are not replaced and others start burning cheaper gas.
Electric vehicles will account for 13% and 12% of electricity generation in Europe and the US, respectively, by 2040. “Charging EVs flexibly, when renewables are generating and wholesale prices are low, will help the system adapt to intermittent solar and wind,” says the report. “The growth of EVs pushes the cost of lithium-ion batteries down 73% by 2030.”