Wind and solar technologies will push the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region's electricity mix to 50% by 2050, according to a study.
"In the Mena, solar and wind will eventually undercut cheap domestic gas and oil, and together with new nuclear plants, push the region's electricity mix to 50% zero-carbon by 2050," said New Energy Outlook 2018 by Bloomberg.
The report said gas is the dominant fuel all through the outlook and alongside PV (photovoltaic) sees the most new build capacity. Oil, in contrast, plays an increasingly marginal role, declining to just 7% of generation in 2050, from 25% today, it added. On a global scale, it said cheap renewable energy and batteries fundamentally reshape the electricity system.
"We move from 2/3 fossil fuels in 2017 to 2/3 renewable energy by 2050," it said, adding for wind and solar that's "50-by-50" – with these technologies supplying almost 50% of world electricity by 2050, and ending the era of fossil fuel dominance in the power sector.
Highlighting that Asia Pacific sees almost as much investment in power plants as the rest of the world combined, it said China and India alone are a $4.3tn opportunity for the energy sector with China seeing 49% and India 29% of total regional investment. Three-quarters flow to wind and solar which see $2.4tn and $1.8tn respectively, making up 75% of investment.
The US electricity system continues to replace ageing coal and nuclear with cheaper gas and renewable sources, assuming there is no federal policy intervention to prevent their retirement. Coal and nuclear are pushed out by age and economics, such that by 2050 both nuclear and coal have almost disappeared from the electricity mix.
"We do not anticipate a US nuclear renaissance with current technology. Batteries grow in significance from around 2030, supporting renewables penetration, which reaches 55% in 2050. In that year, emissions are 58% lower than they are today," it said.
The report found that Europe shows green energy can reach very high penetration at a low cost. By 2050, renewables make up 87% of the electricity mix, with wind and solar playing a dominant role.
Cheap renewables, flexible demand and batteries combine to shift the European power system away from fossil fuels and nuclear to one built around variable renewables and emissions-free energy.
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