Here are the 5 renewable energy trends to watch in 2018 according to The Guardian:
– Renewable energy costs will continue to fall
Solar and offshore wind prices have halved in recent years resulting in unprecedented subsidy-free solar and wind farms being developed. Part of this price reduction is of course due to the decreased cost of technology itself, but also to country-level auctions for renewable capacity. With this auction mechanism, the bidding process is designed in part to select the lowest price therefore decreasing the cost of renewable. Furthermore, these falling prices combined with overcapacity issues in certain countries have lead to a decrease in renewable investment which may continue until next year.
– China will push ahead with its ambitious energy plans
China will arguably be driving the renewable’s industry with its various energy plans. Having increased their solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity over the last decade by a factor of nearly 800, China has recently surpassed its PV 2020 targets and are currently the global leaders in solar generation. Furthermore, pledges to invest £292 billion in renewable power by 2020 and further major investments in R&D, combined with the country’s recent launch of the worlds largest national emissions trading scheme, testifies of the countries ambition to reduce their dependency on fossil fuel energy sources.
– Corporations will make bold commitments
Companies are predicted to undergo ‘green’ behavioral changes with opportunities associated with falling costs of renewable’s and installation of their own distributed energy resources (DER). DERs refers to a variety of grid connected devices that can generate and store electricity autonomously from the centralised energy grid. They enable collection of energy from many renewable sources and may lower environmental impacts and improve security of supply. Additionally, with green investors and NGOs continuing to push for more transparency in companies greenhouse gas emissions and exposure to climate change, companies behavior will most likely change.
– The renewables industry will generate more jobs
With approximately 10 million people now working within the renewable energy industry and increased investment in this sector, 2018 will see an increase in ‘green’ jobs. In fact, wind turbine service technician and solar photovoltaic installer are the fastest-growing occupations in the US. However, despite the high demand for workers there is a shortage of skilled labour which could slow down the energy transition.
-Competition in the battery market will increase
Large-scale battery factories are planned to be built in Sweden, Hungary, Poland and Germany. In the US, Telsa’s completion of its Nevada gigafactory – the biggest battery factory in the world – and China’a plans to grant the capacity to provide almost 120 gigawatt-hours of battery cells a year by 2021, the competition for the battery market will increase.