Energy Blue Print

Moving from principles to action for energy supply that mitigates against climate change requires a long-term perspective. Energy infrastructure takes time to build up; new energy technologies take time to develop. Policy shifts often also need many years to take effect. In most world regions the transformation from fossil to renewable energies will require additional investment and higher supply costs over about twenty years

download the report USA 2014

the silent revolution – past and current market developments

6.1 the power plant market 1970 to 2012

A new analysis of the global power plant market shows that since the late 1990s, renewable energy especially wind and solar photovoltaic installations grew faster than any other power plant technology across the world – over 630,000 MW total new installed capacities between 2000 and 2012. However, it is too early to claim the end of the fossil fuel based power generation, because more than 695,000 MW of new coal power plants were built with embedded cumulative emissions of 78 billion tonnes CO2 over their technical lifetime.

6.2 powerplant markets in the US, Europe and China

The graphs in the report show how much electricity market liberalization influences the choice of power plant technology. While the US and European power sectors moved towards deregulated markets, which favor mainly gas power plants, China added a large amount of coal until 2009, with the first signs for a change in favor of renewable energy in 2009 and 2010.

6.3 the global market shares in the power plant market: renewables gaining ground

Since the year 2000, the wind power market gained a growing market share within the global power plant market. Initially only a handful of countries, namely Germany, Denmark and Spain, dominated the wind market, by the end of 2012 however the wind industry is present in 79 countries around the world. Following the example of the wind industry, the solar photovoltaic industry experienced an equal growth since 2005. Between 2000 and 2012, 29% of all new power plants worldwide were renewable-powered – mainly wind – and 37% run on gas. So, two-thirds of all new power plants installed globally are gas power plants and renewable, with close to one-third as coal. Nuclear remains irrelevant on a global scale with just 1.7% of the global market share.

About 633,000 MW of new renewable energy capacity has been installed over the last decade, while 695,000 MW of new coal, with embedded cumulative emissions of more than 78 billion tonnes CO2 over their technical lifetime, came online – 81% or 563,000 MW in China.

The energy revolution has started on a global level already.This picture is even clearer when we look into the global market shares but exclude China, the country with where the majority of coal expansion takes place. About 35% of all new power plants since 2000 have been renewables and 52% have been gas power plants (87% in total). Coal gained a market share of only 11% globally, if China is excluded in this calculation. Between 2000 and 2012, China has added over 560,000 MW of new coal capacity: four times the entire coal capacity of the EU! However, China has also recently kick-started its wind market, and solar photovoltaics is expected to follow in the years to come.

6.4 the global renewable energy market in 2012

The renewable energy sector has been growing substantially over the last 10 years. In 2011, the increases in the installation rates of both wind and solar power were particularly impressive.The total amount of renewable energy installed worldwide is reliably tracked by the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21). Its latest global status report (2013) shows how the technologies have grown.The following text has been taken from the Renewables 2013 – Global Status Report– published in June 2013 with the permit of REN 21 and is a shortened version of the executive summary.