Renewable energy as cheap as fossil fuel in three years, claims IRENA chief

Decentralized solar systems, including mini-grids and home systems, are expected to serve up to 100 million households around the world by 2020
Updated 26 January 2018
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Renewable energy as cheap as fossil fuel in three years, claims IRENA chief

ABU DHABI: With the costs of creating electricity from solar power and wind continuing to fall, electricity from renewable energy will soon be “consistently cheaper” than electricity from fossil fuels, according to the head of the world’s renewable energy agency.
By 2020, most wind and solar power technology now being commercially used will be priced in the same range as fossil fuels, “with most at the lower end or even undercutting fossil fuels,” said Adnan Amin, the director general of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
That is particularly good news for communities in parts of Africa, Asia and other parts of the world that remain unconnected to power grids and without access to modern energy, experts said.
Cheaper prices for improved technology, combined with new financial arrangements to help put it in place, should lead to more unconnected communities getting access to clean power, according to energy access body Power for All.
“The falling cost of solar and an expected decline in (costs of renewable energy) storage are providing a major boost to delivering electricity and related services to communities without access to energy,” William Brent, a spokesman for the organization, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
“But it’s not just a question of solar technology, which has achieved full commercial viability and is now cheaper than coal in many countries. Many companies are also pioneering delivery methods using innovative business and financial models, as well as through advances in super-efficient appliances,” he said.
Decentralized solar systems, including mini-grids and home systems, are expected to serve up to 100 million households by the year 2020, he said.
Rwanda, for example, is taking advantage of falling costs to outfit 500,000 homes with solar systems, which should enable almost 2 million people to access clean electricity before the end of 2019, said James Musoni, Rwanda’s minister for infrastructure, including electricity.
“With renewable power alternatives becoming consistently affordable each day, it is up to us to take advantage of this and ensure that we move even closer to achieving universal access to electricity,” the minister said.
The program will cost $15 million — money received as a concessional loan from the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, he said.
The cost of producing renewable energy has fallen consistently since 2010, with wind and solar panels leading the way — and in some cases falling in price by as much as 73 percent over that period, according to a new report by IRENA.
The biggest price drops have come in the cost of generating utility-scale power from solar panels, which means that such energy can now be added at a much more competitive cost, Amin said.
In 2016 alone, he said, more than 160 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity was added to the world energy mix, an increase of almost 9 percent.
Around 70 percent of that increase came in developing countries, with Asia accounting for 58 percent and Africa 12 percent, he said.
Technological advances, competitive procurement and a large base of experienced, internationally active project developers were the main drivers of the lower costs, Amin said.
The agency said its 2017 review of the industry showed the renewable energy sector supported 9.8 million jobs globally, with solar voltaic systems the largest employer with 3 million jobs worldwide. That was a 12 percent increase from the agency’s 2016 review, it said.


Jet Airways now operating only 41 aircraft, could reduce further: regulator

The debt-laden carrier has delayed payments to banks, suppliers, pilots and lessors. (Reuters)
Updated 24 min 32 sec ago
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Jet Airways now operating only 41 aircraft, could reduce further: regulator

  • Jet Airways may reduce the number of aircraft it is flying in coming weeks
  • The debt-laden carrier has delayed payments to banks, suppliers, pilots and lessors

NEW DELHI: India’s aviation regulator said on Tuesday that Jet Airways is currently operating only 41 aircraft, just a third of its original fleet, as the debt-laden carrier struggles to finalize a rescue deal with lenders and its major shareholder Etihad Airways.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said in a statement the situation is fluid and that Jet may reduce the number of aircraft it is flying in coming weeks.
Saddled with debt of more than one billion dollars, Jet has delayed payments to banks, suppliers, pilots and lessors — some of whom have ended lease deals with the airline before taking the planes out of the country.
The DGCA also said that pilots, cabin crew and ground staff who have reported any kind of stress should not be put on duty, and the airline should carry out regular maintenance of its aircraft even if they are currently grounded.