International Energy Agency raises renewable energy forecast for the next five years
Following a record 2016, the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) has raised its renewable energy forecast for the next five years.
This is predominantly because of the surge in solar photovoltaic (PV) in China, India, and the United States.
In the medium-term renewables market report, the agency stated that it expects global renewable electricity capacity to rise by more than 920GW, or 43%, by 2020, because of supportive policies for low carbon energy and cost reductions for solar PV and wind.
IEA predicts renewable power generation to increase by more than a third to 8,169TWh in 2022 from around 6,012TWh in 2016.
This is the equivalent of the electricity consumption of China, India and Germany combined.
In 2016, hydropower, solar, wind, bioenergy, wave, and tidal – all net additions to renewable energy capacity – created another world record, growing by more than 6% of 2015.
Solar PV capacity grew by 50% to reach more than 74GW last year, being the first time that solar PV has risen faster than any other fuel.
“We see renewables growing by about 1,000 GW by 2022, which equals about half of the current global capacity in coal power, which took 80 years to build,” Fatih Birol, Executive Director of IEA, commented.
“What we are witnessing is the birth of a new era in solar PV. We expect that solar PV capacity growth will be higher than any other renewable technology through 2022.”
IEA’s previous criticism for underestimating the growth of renewables has been contrasted by their new report, stating: “While coal remains the largest source of electricity generation in 2022, renewables close in on its lead. In 2016, renewable generation was 34 percent less than coal but by 2022 this gap will be halved to just 17 percent.”
China will contribute the most to renewable capacity growth, and will be followed by the US and India.
All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency
Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.
According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.
Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.
“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."
He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."
North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).
The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.