Is it possible to reduce investments while increasing energy generation and efficiency? Judging from the global renewable energy trends not only is it possible, it's desirable.
The reduction in global green energy investment that has taken place over the last two years ($214billion in 2013 compared with $250billion in 2012 and $279billion in 2011) can be put down to a number of different reasons and differs from one geographic area to the next. The Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2014 report, which was drawn up by the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) and Bloomberg New Energy Finance, states that while some of the reasons that explain this apparent paradox should be eliminated – such as regulatory uncertainties – others, such as the lower cost of solar PV and the greater efficiency of wind farms, are positives for the green energy industry.
Solar power and wind power are now the fastest growing renewable energy sources. While hydropower has a long and proud tradition, wind and solar power are two green sources that are becoming increasingly competitive, and it's thanks to their contribution that renewables account for 43.6 percent of the new capacity installed in 2013. The cost of PV solar generation has dropped, and countries like Italy, Spain, Germany and Denmark have achieved socket parity, the point where a household can make five percent or more return on investment in a PV system just by using the energy generated to replace household energy consumption.
The International Energy Agency's World Energy Outlook 2013 takes a look at how global energy generation has evolved, and says that renewable energy will play an important role in responding to the growth in global electricity demand over the next few years. Forecasts for 2020 suggest both a growth in overall generation and a simultaneous increase of green energy's share of production.
|Electricity generation||Renewable generation|
|Emerging markets||+ 41%||+ 66%|
|North America||+ 10%||+ 34%|
|Europe||+ 4%||+ 35%|
Enel's contribution to the satisfying of global renewable energy demand is documented by its green energy growth over the last five years. According to the aims for 2018 laid out in Enel Green Power's business plan, there will be a 4.6 gigawatts of additional capacity distributed among emerging markets (2.9GW), North America (0.7GW) and Europe (1GW).
EGP's development over the last five yearshas been impressive. The number of plants in service have increased from 600 in 2009 to 750 in 2013, and last year new facilities were put into service that have further broadened the generation park. Generation units have doubled from 2,500 to 5,000 and currently generate 8.9GW, 4.1GW more than five years ago. EGP is also now operating in 16 different nations, where its 1,800 Operation & Maintenance staff are the cornerstone for the operational efficiency of its plants.