Despite the difficult economic climate and the uncertainties surrounding energy and climate policies in Western countries, renewable electricity production will increase by 40 percent between 2012 and 2018 and meet 25 percent of the world's electricity demand, an increase of five percent.
The forecast comes from the International Energy Agency, and was recently underlined by IEA's executive director Maria van der Hoeven, during the meeting Syndacat des Energies Renewables in Paris.
Two factors are speeding up this process:
- The growth of investments in emerging markets led by China, which will compensate the predicted slowdown of US and EU markets;
- The reduction of costs that is making renewable energy technologies nearly as cost-effective as fossil fuels, even without subsidy systems.
Emerging and developing nations will account for two-thirds of the increase in global production until 2018, and while costs will reduce for every technology, they will apply in particular to wind power.
Overall, in several countries – including Brazil, Chile and other Latin American nations – wind power, and in some cases solar energy, will soon be competing with fossil fuels on a more level playing field.
According to the IEA, in 2035 almost half of the electricity produced globally will be provided from renewable energy sources, and Europe will have around a 60 percent share of renewable energy generation.
The IEA warns that there are still challenges to be overcome, as development in the field is becoming increasingly complex, in particular due to problems with grid-integration.
The forecasts justify the choices made by the Enel Group, which are aimed at making the most of the opportunities offered by developing markets through diversification of technology and strategic investments justified by the abundance of natural resources, rather than by uncertain subsidy policies.