Renewable energy is definitely one of the most interesting spaces to watch at the moment. There have been huge developments in the sector, such as China exceeding its target for solar installations, but also some major setbacks, including Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Deal.
The price of renewable energy will continue to drop
This is encouraging news for a world working towards a clean energy future. The price of solar is down over 60% since 2009, while wind costs have halved in a similar time frame. This has caused governments to witness record low prices for solar and wind at power auctions.
Experts believe that the number of country-level power auctions will continue to rise in 2018 and this will drive down prices in India and other producing countries. Meanwhile, investment in renewables stayed steady throughout 2017 but did not increase by much and this trend looks like it will stay the same for 2018.
China will carry out its ambitious energy plans
Despite China’s pollution being the worst of any country on the planet, the nation is also the global leader when it comes to solar power generation. Over the last ten years, the country’s capacity for solar PV generation has increased by a factor of almost 800. This means that China has already surpassed its 2020 solar PV targets, which shows phenomenal progress.
Currently, eight huge carbon capture and storage projects are underway in China as part of China’s pledge to invest almost £300 billion in renewable power by 2020. This comes along with a commitment to cap coal burning and thus improve the air quality in its cities.
Companies will step up
Target took the limelight at the end of 2016 when it was announced that it had solar panels installed on 300 of its stores. This made it one of the leading corporate players on the solar power scene, but Target is not alone in this game.
Apple has opened a brand new campus in California, which is 100% dependent on green energy, while Goldman Sachs has joined RE100, a cluster of huge companies who are committed to becoming 100% dependent on renewables. There is also a push from investors for companies to disclose their exposure to climate change.
More jobs will be churned out thanks to the renewables industry
A report by the International Renewable Energy Agency has revealed that almost 10 million people across the globe work in the renewables sector. What’s more, the occupations of solar photovoltaic installer and wind turbine technician are the fastest growing in the US.
The renewables industry is relatively labour intensive, meaning it requires a significant amount of man power to keep it all functioning. We should expect to see thousands more jobs being created in this sector in the foreseeable future. However, the demand is for skilled workers, so individuals hoping to tap into the sector should think about getting qualified now.
There will be more competition in the battery market
Tesla is hoping to complete the construction of its Nevada battery factory (the biggest of its kind in the world) by the end of 2018. More huge battery factories are also expected to crop up in China, Sweden, Hungary, Poland and Germany.
The UK also has big plans for energy storage and is investing £246 million into research and development to put the nation ahead of the game. It has also been proposed by researchers that countries look at other ways of storing energy besides lithium-ion batteries.