Electricity from solar to eclipse coal
The sun could be the world's largest source of electricity by 2050, ahead of fossil fuels, wind, hydro and nuclear, says the International Energy Agency (IEA).
It reports that solar photovoltaic (PV) systems could generate up to 16% of the world’s electricity by the middle of the century, while solar thermal electricity from concentrating solar power plants could provide an additional 11%. The installation of solar technology on this scale would reduce carbon emissions annually by 6 million tonnes by 2050, said the agency.
The IEA warns, however, that the solar industry will generate greater levels of electricity only if it receives consistent messages from policymakers. “Where there is a record of policy incoherence, confusing signals or stop-and-go policy cycles, some projects that are needed simply will not go ahead,” said IEA executive director Maria van der Hoeven.
The UK government has consistently changed its policy on solar. In its solar strategy, which was published in October 2013, Decc forecast that installed solar capacity would reach 10GW by 2020.
The solar industry has warned that plans by the energy department to remove large-scale solar PV (above 5MW) from the Renewables Obligation in April 2015, two years earlier than when the RO will cease to operate, will render such deployment levels unlikely.
The Solar Trade Association (STA) forecast that removing large-scale solar from the RO would cap solar deployment at 4GW by 2020. It said there was already evidence that projects were being cancelled.
Demand for fossil fuels will peak by 2025 if all national net-zero pledges are implemented in full and on time, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has forecast.
The Green Homes Grant is set to deliver only a fraction of the jobs and improvements intended, leading to calls for more involvement from local authorities in future schemes.
COVID-19 recovery packages have largely focused on protecting, rather than transforming, existing industries, and have been a “lost opportunity” for speeding up the global energy transition.
Half of the world's 40 largest listed oil and gas companies will have to slash their production by at least 50% by the 2030s to align with the goals of the Paris Agreement, new analysis has found.
None of England’s water and sewerage companies achieved all environmental expectations for the period 2015 to 2020, the Environment Agency has revealed. These targets included the reduction of total pollution incidents by at least one-third compared with 2012, and for incident self-reporting to be at least 75%.
The UK’s pipeline for renewable energy projects could mitigate 90% of job losses caused by COVID-19 and help deliver the government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda. That is according to a recent report from consultancy EY-Parthenon, which outlines how the UK’s £108bn “visible pipeline” of investible renewable energy projects could create 625,000 jobs.
Billions of people worldwide have been unable to access safe drinking water and sanitation in their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a progress report from the World Health Organisation focusing on the UN’s sixth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 6) – to “ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030”.