SWARMENERGY

Megatrends in the Global Energy Transition

In one respect, the UN Paris climate talks have already shown progress. The global energy transition has made a giant leap forward as illustrated by the recent launch of a solar energy initiative by India and the African Renewable Energy Initiative. Against this backdrop Germany’s largest green energy retailer, LichtBlick, and WWF Germany, today released a report that examines some of the world’s energy system trends in more detail. The report is particularly relevant in light of the German Energiewende.

We need Ambitious Climate Deal

“The pace and extent of change are surprising and encouraging. People want the energy transition. We need an ambitious climate deal here in Paris and strong political support of the global energy transition. By reinforcing the current trends we can speed up solar and wind. But also we need to send the strong message to investors that the fossil fuel investments have to decline rapidly” says Stephan Singer, Director Global Energy Policy of WWF International

Energy transition is needed: To stop global warming fossil reserves need to stay in the ground, Graphic: LichtBlick/WWF
Energy transition is needed: To stop global warming fossil reserves need to stay in the ground, Graphic: LichtBlick/WWF

Megatrends in the Global Energy Transition

The assessment “Megatrends in the global energy transition” shows that Germany, the largest European economy, is no longer a sole pioneer in renewables among the big economies.  The current economically, socially and environmentally beneficial roll out of renewables has the power to showcase the various options for a global energy transformation. The study has identified five global trends of energy transformation:

1. The end of the fossil era has begun.
In anticipation of more stringent climate targets and other social and environmental impacts of conventional energy sources, investors withdraw their funds from fossil fuels. The most recent example is the global insurance company Allianz leaving coal investments.

2. The energy future has already begun.
More and more countries are turning to renewable energy and leave nuclear and fossil energy production behind. For the first time in 2013 and again in 2014, more renewables than fossil-nuclear power plant capacity had been installed. In 2014 the amount of money invested in renewable electricity was more than twice as much as invested in fossil fuel based plants. Since the turn of the millennium, the world’s installed capacity of photovoltaics has increased fifty fold, while wind power increased by a factor of eight over the same period.

3. The energy future is renewable.

Megatrend Renewable: In 2013 for the first time more new power generation capacity was installed in the renewables  sector than in the conventional sector, Graphic: LichtBlick/WWF
Megatrend Renewable: In 2013 for the first time more new power generation capacity was installed in the renewables
sector than in the conventional sector, Graphic: LichtBlick/WWF

Drivers of global change are enormous technological leaps and rapidly falling prices. The cost price of one kilowatt hour of solar power went down in a few decades from one Euro to well below ten Euro cents in sunny countries. In the future it could fall to two cents, predicts Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute.

4. The energy future is decentralised.
Energy production is shifting to billions of small and larger renewable energy plants. Energy poverty in poor countries will be eradicated with ever more cost-effective and decentralized renewable energy technologies.

Decentralised sources contribute almost 30% of German electricity production, graphic: LichtBlick/WWF
Decentralised sources contribute almost 30% of German electricity production, graphic: LichtBlick/WWF

5. The energy future is digital.
If manufacturing cost reductions of renewables prevail, legislation is implemented and financial resources particularly from the private sector are mobilised digitization and decentralization will characterize many parts of the global energy system of the future.

“We are in the midst of an industrial revolution that will turn the energy industry upside down. Renewable energy is no longer a luxury, but available at competitive prices to all people. Not companies, but consumers and their choices are shaping the new energy world,” said Heiko von Tschischwitz, founder and CEO of LichtBlick. “Thanks to modern IT we can link millions of decentralized small renewable power and storage plants to build a much more cost-effective and reliable energy system than ever possible with coal, oil, natural gas and uranium.”

The green energy and IT company LichtBlick and the conservation organization WWF Germany want to work together to accelerate the energy transition in Germany. Together they aim to inspire people join the energy transition and to reveal the enormous chances of a renewable energy future.


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