My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: IEA says Solar PV is fastest growing Energy source while Jamaica is adopting LNG

Monday, October 16, 2017

IEA says Solar PV is fastest growing Energy source while Jamaica is adopting LNG

Solar is hot.

So says a IEA (International Energy Agency) report on sources of power around the world that shows solar as the fastest rising as noted in the article “IEA lifts five-year renewables forecast after record 2016”, published 3 October 2017 by Nina Chestney, Reuters

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The IEA said solar panels capacity grew 50% in 2016, with China accounting for almost half the expansion.

Solar accounted for 2/3rd of new Energy capacity in 2016, surpasses any other fuel as a source of power. The conditions in China have increased photovoltaic panel installations in that country, with the United States the second-largest market.  These conditions are mainly:

1.      Strong government targets
2.      Economic incentives
3.      Air pollution concerns

It is the first time that solar energy growth has surpassed other types of fuel albeit Coal still continues to grow despite global targets to reduce carbon emissions.

Still, the IEA expects global renewable electricity capacity to rise by more than 920 gigawatts, or 44%, by 2022, possibly beating coal by 2050 to quote IEA executive director Fatih Birol: “While coal remains the largest source of electricity generation in 2022, renewables close in on its lead. In 2016, renewable generation was 34 percent less than coal but by 2022 this gap will be halved to just 17 percent”.

As usual with statistics, the devil is in the details.

IEA renewable energy since 2016 - Catching up with Coal

The IEA’s forecast saw net additions to renewable energy capacity from the following hit 165 gigawatts (GW), 6% more than in 2015. To be clear, renewable energy in their report refers to:

1.      Hydropower
2.      Solar
3.      Wind
4.      Bioenergy
5.      Wave
6.      Tidal 

Of all these sources of renewable energy, Solar PV (Photovoltaic) grew more than 50% to more than 74 GW last year. This is the first time in history that Solar PV additions rose faster than the net growth in coal. So what of the growth of Renewables in the next 5 years?

IEA renewable energy forecast - LNG rises in Developing World countries

The Paris-based IEA, the West’s leading energy forecaster, had been criticized in the pas for the following:

1.      Underestimating the growth of renewables
2.      Over-emphasizing the continued role of fossil fuels

However, environment campaigners will be pleased to learn that renewable electricity generation is on a rise to quote IEA executive director Fatih Birol: “Our expectation is that (growth in) renewable electricity generation in the next five years will be higher than electricity generation from coal and natural gas times two”.

The IEA expects a 33% increase in renewable power generation to about 8,169 terawatt-hours (TWh) in 2022, a significant rise from 6,012 TWh in 2016 as noted in the article “Time to shine: Solar power is fastest-growing source of new energy”, published Wednesday 4 October 2017 by Adam Vaughan, The Guardian.

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Albeit that could power China, India and Germany, LNG (liquid Natural Gas) will still grow in most Developing World Economies such as Jamaica to quote Fatih Birol: “Natural gas will continue to grow but moving toward the industrial and heating sectors. We still think LNG (liquefied natural gas) will be a key source for power generation especially in Asia, even though we expect renewables to grow as well”.

This is especially true of power hungry India, which could surpass the EU in 2022 to become the joint second-largest growth market alongside the United States.

Jamaica and Alternative Energy - Flirting with Solar while adopting LNG for Power and Vehicle Fuel

Here in Jamaica we are finally going LNG, with benefits expected due to lower energy costs for industry.

LNG may potentially lower the cost of motor vehicle fuel by being included as an alternative fuel as noted in the article “Introduction Of LNG To Jamaica Will Spur Development – Matalon”, Published Monday October 9, 2017, The Jamaica Gleaner.

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We are also going solar both in terms of individual businesses as well as on a large scale such as Content Solar as described in my Geezam blog article entitled “WRB Enterprises builds 20 MW Solar Farm in Content District, Clarendon”. 

Some companies have already committed to going solar such as Wisynco as noted in my blog article entitled “Wisynco Group 1 MW Solar Power Plant - British partnership with Padero Solar UK for conquest of Africa and India”. 

But with LNG in the mix, Jamaicans may soon have options not only for electricity but also for their vehicle fuel.

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