The Biggest Loser

Around half of the world’s energy needs will come from renewable energy by 2050. That’s according to the latest Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) report.

The study stressed that renewable’s domination in the next three decades will occur along with the expected 62 percent demand increase for power and an additional $13.3 trillion worth of renewable energy projects.

All these scenarios are feasible as the cost of renewables has been plummeting in the last few years, the report stresses.  Since 2010, solar and wind costs have dropped by 85  and 49 percent, respectively. Battery storage costs have also declined by 85 percent.

The BNEF says solar and wind power will supply half of the world’s electricity while other renewable energy sources such as geothermal, fuel cells and devices will contribute around 21 percent.

Coal, on the other hand, will be the biggest loser in the power sector as its share in the global generation will decline to 12 percent by 2050 from around 37 percent today.

Europe is leading the shift to cleaner and sustainable energy. The region is expected to source around 92 percent of its power needs from renewable energy. China and India are also expected to source roughly two-thirds of its power from wind and solar by 2050 while the United States will get around 43 percent of its power needs from renewables.

In contrast, the Philippines is expected to increase the share of coal-fired generators in the next 30 years according to the Asia Pacific Energy Research Center (Aperc).

In its latest Energy Demand and Supply outlook report, Aperc stressed that coal is likely to contribute 39 percent of the country’s power needs by 2050 or three percent more than its current 36 percent share. On the other hand, renewable energy is seen to account for 20 percent of the Philippines power supply in 2050, which is lesser than its present 24 percent contribution.

Aperc’s projections are based on business as usual (BAU) scenario where existing policies and current trends stay the same. “Large increases in fossil fuel generation, particularly coal which triples, overshadow a more than doubling of renewable generation in the BAU,” the report says.

Aperc notes that allowing coal power to dominate our energy mix will make the country more vulnerable as the Philippines’ net energy imports will have to double. Promoting renewables and diversifying trade will be important for maintaining energy security,” Aperc said.

Our country’s dependence on fossil fuel imports also come at a high cost according to the international research group, Climate Analytics. Its report shared during recent climate talks in Germany showed that the Philippines fuel imports in 2017 are equivalent to 3.5 percent of its gross domestic product or around $11 billion.

The report also stresses that the country will benefit from shifting to renewable energy since doing so will decrease the external cost from air pollution. Climate Analytics pegged the annual average air pollution cost savings around $1.1 billion by 2025.

Adding more renewable energy in the country’s power mix is feasible, the international research group says. The report cites several studies revealing that covering merely 1.5 percent of the Philippines land area with solar installation can generate around 792 terawatt hours of power, a figure that’s 10 times the country’s total power generated in 2016.

Clearly, a shift to renewable energy is possible for nations including the Philippines. And around the world, coal is expected to be the biggest loser by 2050. Meanwhile, our country may also end up as one of the sorriest fools should we allow coal to continue to dominate our power mix.

Juan de la Cruz becomes the biggest loser.

References:

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-06-18/the-world-will-get-half-its-power-from-wind-and-solar-by-2050

https://news.mb.com.ph/2019/06/22/climate-analytics-report-cites-potentials-of-renewable-in-the-philippines

/https://business.inquirer.net/272280/as-ph-economy-grows-coal-remains-king-says-think-tank#ixzz5s1l138er

Record Breaking 2018

It’s official: 2018 was the fourth warmest year on record for global temperatures. This is according to various organizations such as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the World Meteorological Organization. (WMO). The global average temperature in 2018 is the fourth warmest since 1880 which is just behind years 2016,2017 and 2015.

According to reports, the world was 1.5 Fahrenheit or 0.83 Celsius warmer in 2018 than the average set between years 1951 to 1980.

Naturally, experts are alarmed at the rising global temperature trend as it reflects the effects of climate change. The 20 warmest years on record have been in the past 22 years. The degree of warming during the past four years has been exceptional, both on land and in the ocean,” said Petteri Taalas, secretary general of the WMO.  “Many of the extreme weather events are consistent with what we expect from a changing climate…This is a reality we need to face up to. Greenhouse gas emission reduction and climate adaptation measures should be a top global priority,” he added.

Fortunately, there are serious efforts from many countries and even the private sector to meet commitments to the Paris Climate Change Agreement in 2015 where leaders agreed to limit global warming to just under two degrees. Various countries and big global firms are in the last three years are working hard to cut down on human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide by shifting to renewable power.

In fact, 2018 was record-breaking too for corporate renewable energy deals.  According to  Business Renewables Center of Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), the United States renewables market has almost doubled its figure of corporate off-site deals since 2015.

The contracted capacity for renewables by private firms in the US amounted to 6.43 GW last year. Corporate renewable energy buying came in the form of green power purchases, power purchase agreements, outright project ownership, and green tariffs. 

 

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2018 was the fourth hottest year on record. Photo c/o http://www.mysinchew.com/

Corporate giants AT&T, Facebook, Walmart, Microsoft, and ExxonMobil are the top five firms leading the clean energy purchase. Facebook, the biggest buyer last year closed several deals that amounted to 1,8495 megawatts. And the social media giant is proud of its accomplishment.Facebook is proud to contribute to the record-breaking year of corporate renewable energy deals. We believe companies can and should set big commitments to drive our national transition to a clean energy future,” stressed Rachel Peterson, vice president of data center strategy at Facebook. 

The impressive figures from global brands only show that large firms are serious about their commitment to a sustainable and clean future according to the CEO of RMI Jules Kortenhorst. These companies are not  going to wait for public policy on climate issues to catch up,“ they are taking the initiative to accelerate toward a prosperous, low-carbon economy, he added.

Clean energy investments worldwide in 2018 was also remarkable. The Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) noted that investments in clean power last year amounted to $332.1 billion. The figure is eight percent lower than the amount recorded in 2017, but BNEF notes that 2018 was the fifth consecutive year that the investment exceeded the $300 billion mark.

China and the US were the two biggest investing countries with investments of $100.1 billion and $64.2 billion, respectively.

Other countries also recorded high increases in their clean energy investments. The Netherlands, for example, had a 60 percent increase in RE investments at $5.6 billion while South Korea’s jump was at 74 percent with investments worth $5 billion. Even our neighbor, Vietnam had impressive 18-fold growth in clean power investments last year.

It’s not surprising of course that the Philippines is not in the list of countries that saw major increases in renewable energy investments. As I have been saying, our regulatory environment and lack of government support for clean power hamper the growth of renewable power development in the country. Nevertheless, as a clean and sustainable power advocate, it’s gratifying to see that global brands and governments understand clearly the value of renewable power. After all, renewable energy is a sustainable business practice that also helps the world combat climate change. And as I have expounded repeatedly, it will lower power cost for everyone.

When will change come to the Philippines?

References:

https://solarindustrymag.com/report-2018-a-record-breaking-year-for-corporate-renewable-energy-deals/

https://about.bnef.com/blog/clean-energy-investment-exceeded-300-billion-2018

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/feb/06/global-temperatures-2018-record-climate-change-global-warming