Technology solutions to change…

The energy of change

Technology solutions to change…

The Boost from Emerging Nations in Transforming Energy Markets.


Photovoltaic solar power has caught up with wind power in becoming the most economical renewable technology thanks to the boost from emerging nations. The fact that these renewables are being included in the energy mix has caused the value of solar thermal power with storage to grow as a result of its manageability.

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Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), in one of the last articles published in 2016, highlights the turning point for the world power market due to the fall in prices that solar power has achieved 2016, making it the cheapest electricity of new capacity and therefore overtaking wind power.

The graph below illustrates the average price for solar and wind energy in 58 emerging nations (including China, Brazil and Brazil). We can see then that solar power comes first, thanks partly to all that has been implemented from the support that has come from China, causing it to overtake wind power much sooner than anticipated.

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Graph source Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

The article points out that such a change is being driven by developing nations as well as highlighting their need to increase the installation of new capacity renewable energy as quickly as possible to cover the demand growth. In the Climatescope report, 2016 (BNEF), in which emerging markets are classified by their ability to attract capital for low carbon projects, we find that China, Chile, Brazil, Uruguay, South Africa and India received the highest ranking. Investment made by emerging countries in clean energy has overtaken investment by OECD member countries; $154.1billion in 2015 compared to $153.7 billion from the richest nations. In addition, increase rates for the deployment of clean energy are also higher for emerging nations. This data verifies the idea that emerging nations continue to act as the driving force for change.

” Molten salt solar thermal energy storage is necessary in renewable electric systems and those low in CO2 with high penetration of solar photovoltaic and wind thanks to their manageability.

Furthermore, the penetration of large amounts of wind and/or solar photovoltaic energy in electric systems calls for manageable energy that is able to cover the ranges that are lacking as a result of not enough sun or wind which is the case in these technologies mentioned. At present, there are two technically viable options that offer manageability in a renewable and clean way:

  1. Complement wind farm or photovoltaic solar production installations with batteries. The growing number of this type of infrastructure will help the little competitive costs we see today to improve.
  2. Constructing molten salt solar thermal energy storage plants: currently the most favorable option.

Large scale battery technology (over two or three hours and exceeding 10 MW) is not competitive in terms of costs, which means that solar thermal power becomes the perfect complement for electric systems with a high percentage of wind and photovoltaic in their energy mix.

Eugenia Garrido Gil, General Technical Secretariat at Abengoa

Eugenia Garrido Gil, General Technical Secretariat at Abengoa

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