Net zero could be 630-plus gigawatt annual opportunity for solar – pv magazine International
Analyst BloombergNEF looked into its crystal ball and predicted three routes to a net-zero world. The “green” scenario, which was concretized in his latest New Energy Outlook, will appeal to the solar industry much more than the alternative, nuclear or fossil fuels.
July 22, 2021
The New Energy Outlook 2021 report, published by analyst BloombergNEF (BNEF), has stated that the world must add at least 455 GW of solar generating capacity annually through 2030 to keep us on the path to a mid-century net-zero world economy.
And since the US data company has worked out three ways to achieve CO2 neutrality, depending on the prevailing power generation technology, the “green” scenario outlined in yesterday’s study predicts a requirement of 632 GW of solar per year for the next three decades in order to achieve this global solar fleet of 20 TW in 2050.
This solar and wind friendly green way to limit global warming to a maximum of 1.75 degrees Celsius this century would also require 257 GWh of new battery storage capacity over the next 29 years to reach 7.7 TWh by the middle of the century.
The alternative scenarios envisaged by the BNEF analysts are a “red” perspective that would rely on nuclear power, aided by the widespread adoption of small, modular reactors; and a “gray” future in which carbon capture technology enables the continued use of coal and gas.
In the green scenario, solar and wind energy would increase from around 1.3% of global primary energy consumption today to 15% in this decade and 70% by the middle of the century. In the gray alternative, intermittent renewables would account for 26% of primary energy, and no estimate has been made for solar and wind power in a nuclear future, outlined by BNEF in a press release released yesterday accompanying the report’s release.
According to the BNEF, the most environmentally friendly of the three results would generate a demand of 121.5 PWh of electricity in 2050, 49% of which will be used for the electrolysis of 1.32 billion tons of green hydrogen this year.
Postulating solar needs of 455 GW per year regardless of prevailing power generation technology, the analyst said that at least 505 GW of wind energy would need to be operational annually for this decade, plus 245 GWh of battery capacity and 35 million electric vehicles to keep us on track be it in a green, red, or gray decade.
With the power sector doing most of the heavy lifting by 2030 to reduce carbon emissions, current annual spending of $ 1.7 trillion on energy infrastructure – including solar parks – must be between $ 3.1 trillion and $ 5.8 trillion per year through 2050 for a mid-century total of $ 92 to $ 173 trillion, depending on the prevailing type of technology.
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