Renewables are expected to dominate global power generation by 2040

$10.2 trillion will be invested in new global power generation between 2017 and 2040, with renewable power sources such as wind and solar accounting for almost three quarters of that, according to a new Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) report.

By 2040, global emissions are expected to be 4 percent below 2016's levels, but an additional $5.3 trillion investment in renewable power would be needed by 2040 to keep rising global temperatures below 2 degrees Celsius.

The report said the costs of renewable power were expected to continue to fall, with the cost of solar tipped to fall by 66 percent by 2040.

The cost of offshore wind power is forecast to fall by 71 percent by 2040, helped in part by increased competition and economies of scale from larger projects and bigger turbines.

Coal-fired power generation in the United States is expected to fall by 51 percent by 2040, with a 169 percent increase in renewable power helping to fill the void.

Coal use in Europe will be slashed by 87% by 2040 thanks to sluggish demand and a wholesale transition to renewable energy technologies, as well as a natural transition to natural gas. China, which will continue to see its coal use grow through to 2026, will nevertheless begin to see a decline thereafter. All in all, globally, Bloomberg predicts 369 GW of planned new coal plants will be cancelled, a third of which are in India.

"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," said BNEF analyst Seb Henbest, the report's lead author.

New renewable energy power plants are expected to account for $7.4 trillion, or 72% of the total investment expected for new power plants through to 2040, with solar accounting for $2.8 trillion and wind $3.3 trillion.

This investment is expected to help solar see a 14-fold increase in capacity, while wind will increase fourfold, and by 2040 both will account for 48% of the world’s installed electricity capacity, and 34% of electricity generation, compared with 12% and 5% now.

The report is available here

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