DNV: World Needs Vastly More Green Energy

Wind & Solar PV To Expand 15-Fold & 20-Fold Respectively, Yet ‘Humanity Would Still Fail To Achieve Net Zero Emissions By 2050’: DNV

DNV: World Needs Vastly More Green Energy

The graph here presents the global solar levelized cost of energy and capture price, with spread over regions. According to DNV, the main driver for continued growth of solar is expected to be unit investment costs that will fall significantly with every doubling of PV installation globally. (Source: DNV)

  • DNV’s ETO 2021 report claims the world is not on track to achieve targets listed in the Paris Agreement
  • There needs to be more green electricity and on a dramatically accelerated timescale
  • Solar PV will grow 20-fold from current times to 2050, yet combined with wind energy, it won’t help meet the ambitions still

Come 2050 and the world is likely to be getting 80% of its electricity requirement fulfilled from non-fossil fuel sources. Wind energy capacity will grow 15-fold and solar PV will expand 20-fold from today as these technologies make themselves relevant with low costs and advancing technologies. Their business case will become ‘overwhelming’ by 2030.

“But the problem is this: even if all electricity was ‘green’ from this day forward, humanity would still fail to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. Not everything can be electrified,” reads the foreword of DNV’s Group President and CEO Remi Eriksen in the group’s 5th annual edition of Energy Transition Outlook 2021 (ETO 2021). This kind of sums up the sentiment expressed in rest of the report. He adds that the world needs to have ‘vastly more’ green electricity, and on a ‘dramatically accelerated timescale’.

According to the report’s forecast, the world is headed towards global warming of 2.3º C by 2100 after the 1.5º C carbon budget is exhausted by 2030 when global energy-related emissions fall only 9% lower than 2019 emissions. The world is clearly not meeting ambitions laid down in the Paris Agreement, and the window of opportunity to close the gap is a short one.

Put this way, the DNV report seems to echo the fears expressed by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as part 1 of its 6th assessment report (AR6) that point towards 1.5º C warming in the early 2030s.

Already cheapest from of new power today, solar PV and wind are likely to become even more cheaper than operating existing thermal power in most places. By 2050, solar and wind energy will account for 69% of grid connected power generation while fossil power will be only 13%.

Some of the other key takeaways from the report are as follows:

  • Governments across the globe had an opportunity in the form of COVID-19 to restructure and restart economic activity to be climate friendly, but most stimulus packages did not focus around decarbonization. “The overall pace of the transition has not accelerated, and that is a lost opportunity,” reads the report.
  • Hydrogen is a main decarbonization alternative for sectors that are hard to decarbonize, but it will only start to scale from late-2030s. Green hydrogen from electrolysis will be the main long-term solution and by 2050, 18% of hydrogen will be grid based and 43% will come from dedicated capacity comprising 16% solar PV, 16% onshore wind and 9% fixed offshore wind.
  • Currently, unit investment costs for solar PV are just below $900 per kW as a global average, and will fall significantly with every doubling of solar PV installation globally, reaching $600 per kW in 2050.
  • Greater use of single-axis trackers and bifacial solar cells will continue to boost the average global capacity factor of the new additions from about 19% today to 26% in 2050.
  • As battery prices continue to drop, by 2030 it expects the gap between levelized cost of solar PV+storage to narrow below 65% compared to solar PV without storage.
  • In 2050, total installed solar PV capacity will be 8.4 TW and 4.0 TW for PV with storage; this 12.4 TW solar powered grid connected electricity will be a 20-fold growth over 610 GW in 2019.
  • Greater China will reach the 1 TW installed-capacity milestone in 2026 and by 2030 it will account for almost 50% of the global share of PV.

Eriksen makes an eerie conclusion, “The window to avoid catastrophic climate change is closing soon, and the costs of not doing so unimaginable.”

The report is available for free download on DNV’s website.

DNV will present its scenario on how to limit global warming to 1.5º C in its forthcoming publication Pathway to net zero emissions.

About The Author

Anu Bhambhani

Anu Bhambhani is the Senior News Editor of TaiyangNews

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