With a myriad of very colorful charts, a new report from Carbon Tracker makes the point that the majority of new global generating power will be wind and solar. The authors predict a leapfrog effect in countries where there is no developed power grid. As power needs increase, people will simply install low-cost solar panels and a battery and will be self-sufficient.
As one commentator put it:
“I have spent 30 of the last 40 years living in Asia and Africa, so I understand poor countries. By 2025, roof solar plus mini batteries will be cheap enough to work even in slums. Emerging markets will jump from poor grids to no grids, as they have from poor fixed line phone networks to mobile networks.”
Note that China is now making extremely cheap mini EV vehicles, so anyone who finds the cash to buy solar cells will soon switch. “Not an issue in India, as far as I can see. My thought is that if European (and US) car makers don’t have EV offerings in South America, Indian and Chinese makers will say “thank you very much” and jump in ahead.”
The detail and especially the mathematics (never my strong point) are beyond the scope of this article. Salient points include: Peak fossil fuel generation occurred in 2018. Almost 90% of electricity demand growth from now till 2040 will come from the emerging markets. Many markets have already done the leapfrog. India has done a double leapfrog — it has connected many households that were without power, and done it with renewables.
All the barriers to change are soluble — countries further along the continuum of change have already solved them and are willing to share technology, expertise, and capital. The corruption that exists in some states will be overcome by the economics. Domestic policy is the key.
The full report can be downloaded here: “Reach for the Sun: The emerging market electricity leapfrog.“
Featured image courtesy of Solar Sister