New short study by the Energy Watch Group (EWG) finds:

Electricity would already be cheaper today with a full supply of 100% renewables

27.10.2021 – Berlin | In the coalition negotiations for the new German government, both ambitious climate protection and the reduction of electricity prices play a central role. The previous government still expects only 45% renewables in the electricity mix by 2025. A new short study by the Energy Watch Group offers an answer to the rising energy costs: The study calculates that a full supply with 100% renewables would already be economically competitive today compared to the current energy system based on coal, natural gas and nuclear. By 2025 at the latest, an energy system based on 100% renewables would then be significantly cheaper than power generation with fossil fuels.

“Since around 2017, the electricity generation costs for solar and wind power have fallen far below the electricity generation costs of conventional power plants such as natural gas, coal or nuclear. However, this new development is largely dismissed in societal discourse with the claim that total system costs, including storage, would be far higher than those of conventional power generation. The study proves that this claim is outdated and simply wrong.”, adds Hans-Josef Fell, President of EWG.

The latest developments in the price decline of renewables and storage technologies in conjunction with the price increases of conventional power generation leave no room for doubt: Since 2021, supply-secure power generation from 100% renewables is cheaper than power from newly built conventional power plants, even including storage costs. From 2025, even conventional power plants that have already been built and depreciated will no longer be able to compete economically with newly built full-supply systems with 100% renewable energy. These findings are obtained by modeling the development of electricity prices based on current data.

“In the next few years, conventional existing plants will no longer be economically viable to operate due to the lower costs of renewable full supply. This means that a historically favorable extensive self-sufficiency in all energy sources will be within reach in Germany and also worldwide. This revolution in the fundamental conditions of energy supply can be seen as an opportunity and must be used for immediate climate protection. This means that all energy investments must be immediately withdrawn from fossil fuels and directed into renewable energies,” says Dr. Thure Traber, lead author of the study.

Download the Short Study here in English and German.

Download the Press Release here in English and German.

Press contact:

Sophie Marquitan – presse@energywatchgroup.org

Stimulating investments in sector coupling and innovation: Energy Watch Group proposes new law for reliable and adequate renewable energy systems

Berlin (May 14, 2020) – On the occasion of this year’s 20th anniversary of the German Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG), the Berlin-based Think-and-Do Tank Energy Watch Group (EWG) presents a legislative proposal to stimulate the system integration of renewable energy. The underlying purpose of the policy proposal is to allow renewable energy sources to finally assume responsibility for the system security of the power supply – i.e. to cover the required energy demand at every hour of the year. With a so-called combined power plant tariff, the instrument intends to stimulate investments for full demand coverage by 100% renewable energy. Based on own techno-economic cost estimates and a legal examination of EU regulations, the EWG proposes a fixed-feed-in-tariff of 8 cents/kWh, supported by a sliding market premium.

While renewables keep setting records in terms of their shares of national electricity mixes – Germany has recently hit the 50% mark –, a full transformation to an entirely renewable-based energy system is not yet widely regarded to be a tangible reality. One of the main reasons is the prevailing mistrust of the ability of renewables to provide year-round supply. Many scientific studies have already shown that a complete conversion to renewables is not only critical for reasons of climate protection, but also that it is technologically feasible (in combination with storage technologies and digital control technology) at any hour of the year and at cost-effective prices. What is still missing, however, is a legal basis to enable the market penetration of reliable and adequate 100% renewable energy systems.

“The newly proposed Sector Coupling and Innovation Act for Renewable Energy is intended to become a major impetus to overcome the current challenges of the coronavirus recession and the climate crisis. More than ever, it is necessary to find solutions that both stimulate the economy and protect our climate,” said Hans-Josef Fell, who, as President of the EWG and author of the draft law EEG 2000, was responsible for drafting the new legislative initiative.

Stefan Gsänger, Secretary General of the World Wind Energy Association, emphasized: “Renewable energy ultimately can, must and will assume responsibility for system security. Today, wind and solar power have become the cheapest forms of energy. As a next step, the investments in the optimised integration of all renewable energy sources must be massively increased. The EWG’s new policy proposal shows how this can be achieved effectively and deserves wide attention.”

The law would create a market for the very large number of start-ups and established companies that are in the starting blocks with innovative system developments for storage, digital controls, green power generation and sector coupling, but do not yet have a viable market environment to generate large-scale privately financed investments.

“The advantages of low, decentralised and transparent energy production costs can now be shared with those of climate protection and security of supply, especially since integration comes also from the regional level in support of the transmission network. Further innovations and growth markets can certainly develop if technologies such as batteries, hydrogen, heat pumps and heat storage in combination with solar and wind energy are dynamically developed towards decentral system responsibility.”, states Thure Traber, Chief Research Officer at the EWG and author of the legislative proposal.

A legal examination of the proposal has shown the compatibility with EU regulations. A distinction is made between a fixed feed-in tariff per kWh fed into the grid for small plants and a floating market premium for larger plants that participate in electricity competition via direct marketing. Similar options for policy implementation are expected at international level. With political majorities in national parliaments, the proposal can help to realise effective climate protection and, after the end of the coronavirus pandemic, a rapid recovery of the economy together with the phasing-out of fossil and nuclear energy in favour of clean renewable energy sources.

The full policy paper is available here.

Media contact: Charlotte Hornung / +49 30 609898815 / hornung@energywatchgroup.org

About Energy Watch Group  

Energy Watch Group (EWG) is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan global network of scientists and parliamentarians. EWG conducts research and publishes independent studies and analyses on global energy developments. The mission of the organisation is to provide energy policy with objective information. For more information, please visit www.energywatchgroup.org.
Contact: office@energywatchgroup.org, +49 30 609898815

The new study by the Energy Watch Group and LUT University is the first of its kind to outline a 1.5°C scenario with a cost-effective, cross-sectoral, technology-rich global 100% renewable energy system that does not build on negative CO2 emission technologies. The scientific modelling study simulates a total global energy transition in the electricity, heat, transport and desalination sectors by 2050. It is based on four and a half years of research and analysis of data collection, as well as technical and financial modelling by 14 scientists. This proves that the transition to 100% renewable energy is economically competitive with the current fossil and nuclear-based system, and could reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the energy system to zero even before 2050.

“The report confirms that a transition to 100% renewables is possible across all sectors, and is no longer more expensive than the current energy system,” said Hans-Josef Fell, former Member of the German Parliament and President of the Energy Watch Group, in advance of the publication. “It shows that the whole world can make the transition to a zero emission energy system. That is why all political powers around the world can and should do much more to protect our climate than they currently envision.” Thanks to the developed model and the extensive existing database, EWG and LUT can now also develop national roadmaps for the transition to 100% renewables, tailored precisely for the individual countries’ respective context, Fell added.

“The study’s results show that all countries can and should accelerate the current Paris Climate Agreement targets,” said Dr Christian Breyer, Professor for Solar Economy at the Finnish LUT University. “A transition to 100% clean, renewable energies is highly realistic – even today, with the technologies currently available.”

Prof. Dr Claudia Kemfert, Head of the Department of Energy, Transport and the Environment at the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW), highlighted the economic viability of renewable energies: “The study is an impressive demonstration that a transition to renewable energy sources worldwide is not only feasible, but also makes economic sense.” David Wortmann, initiator of the Eco Innovation Alliance and founding member of Entrepreneurs For Future also called on policy-makers to put in place innovation-friendly frameworks and emphasised that “for us, an economically profitable energy transition has long since ceased to be a myth”. Franziska Wessel from Fridays For Future also called on policy-makers to take immediate action: “This study shows what is possible if our politicians are willing to act. We – Fridays For Future – call for a completion of the transition to 100% renewables by 2035.”

The study concludes with political recommendations for a rapid integration of renewable energy and zero greenhouse gas emission technologies. Among the most important measures suggested by the report are promoting sector coupling, private investments (which should ideally be incentivised with fixed feed-in tariffs), tax breaks and legal privileges with simultaneous discontinuation of subsidies for coal and fossil fuels. According to the report, the transition to a global energy system based on 100% renewables can be achieved before 2050 if a strong policy framework is implemented.

Some key findings of the study:

  • The transition to 100% renewable energy requires comprehensive electrification in all energy sectors. The total electricity generation will be four to five times higher than electricity generation in 2015. Accordingly, electricity consumption in 2050 will account for more than 90% of the primary energy consumption. At the same time, consumption of fossil and nuclear energy resources in all sectors will cease completely.
  • The global primary energy generation in the 100% renewable energy system will consist of the following mix of energy sources: solar energy (69%), wind power (18%), hydropower (3%), bioenergy (6%) and geothermal energy (2%).
  • By 2050, wind and solar power will account for 96% of the total power supply of renewable energy sources. Renewable energies are produced virtually exclusively from decentralised local and regional generation.
  • 100% renewables are more cost-effective: The energy costs for a fully sustainable energy system will decrease from € 54/MWh in 2015 to € 53/MWh in 2050.
  • The transition in all sectors will reduce the annual greenhouse gas emissions in the energy sector continuously from roughly 30 GtCO2-eq. in 2015 to zero by 2050.
  • A 100%-renewable electricity system will employ 35 million people worldwide. The roughly 9 million jobs in the worldwide coal mining sector from 2015 will be phased out completely by 2050. They will be overcompensated by the over 15 million new jobs in the renewable energy sector.

The press release is also available in FrenchGerman, Mandarin, Russian and Spanish.

 

The full study is available here
The full study in high resolution (ZIP file) is available here.

Click here for endorsements from high-level international experts & scientists

 

Download material (in different languages)

Key Findings: English, French, German, Mandarin, RussianSpanish

Executive Summary: English, French, German, Mandarin, RussianSpanish

Presentation on the global results

Presentations on the regional results: Europe, Eurasia, MENA, Sub-Saharan Africa, SAARC, Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, North America, South America

Supplementary data (Excel file)
Presentation of numerical results of the modeling broken down to regions and sectors.

 

About the Study
The simulation “Global Energy System based on 100% Renewable Energy”, co-funded by the German Federal Environmental Foundation (DBU) and the Stiftung Mercator, comprises a state-of-the-art modeling, developed by LUT University and computes a cost-optimal mix of technologies based on locally available renewable energy sources. It determines the most cost-effective energy transition pathway for global energy supply on an hourly resolution for an entire reference year and structured in 145 regions. The global energy transition scenario is carried out in 5-year time periods from 2015 until 2050. The results are aggregated into nine major regions of the world: Europe, Eurasia, MENA, Sub-Saharan Africa, SAARC, Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, North America and South America.

About Energy Watch Group
Energy Watch Group (EWG) is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan global network of scientists and parliamentarians. EWG conducts research and publishes independent studies and analyses on global energy developments. The mission of the organization is to provide energy policy with objective information.

About LUT University
LUT University has pioneered as a science university combining technology and business since 1969. It has been recognised in international rankings as one of the world’s top universities. Clean energy and water, a circular economy and sustainable business are pivotal questions for humankind. LUT University applies its expertise in technology and business to seek solutions to these questions. LUT University strongly promotes entrepreneurship stemming from its scientific research. An example of this is the business accelerator Green Campus Open, which supports new spin-off companies that are based on LUT’s research. LUT’s international science community consists of 6500 students and experts. www.lut.fi/web/en/

A global transition to 100% renewable electricity is not a long-term vision, but already a tangible reality, a new groundbreaking study by the Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT) and the Energy Watch Group (EWG) shows. The study was presented on November 8, 2017 during the Global Renewable Energy Solutions Showcase event (GRESS) on the sidelines of the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP23 in Bonn.

The results of the study are revealing: A global electricity system fully based on renewable energy is feasible at every hour throughout the year and is more cost effective than the existing system, which is largely based on fossil fuels and nuclear energy.

Existing renewable energy potential and technologies, including storage can generate sufficient and secure power to cover the entire global electricity demand by 2050[1]. Total levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) on a global average for 100% renewable electricity in 2050 is €52/MWh (including curtailment, storage and some grid costs), compared to €70/MWh in 2015.

“A full decarbonization of the electricity system by 2050 is possible for lower system cost than today based on available technology. Energy transition is no longer a question of technical feasibility or economic viability, but of political will”, Christian Breyer, lead author of the study, LUT Professor of Solar Economy and Chairman of the EWG Scientific Board said.

A transition to 100% renewables would bring greenhouse gas emissions in the electricity sector down to zero and drastically reduce total losses in power generation. It would create 36 million jobs by 2050, 17 million more than today.

”There is no reason to invest one more Dollar in fossil or nuclear power production”, EWG President Hans-Josef Fell said. “Renewable energy provides cost-effective power supply. All plans for a further expansion of coal, nuclear, gas and oil have to be ceased. More investments need to be channeled in renewable energies and the necessary infrastructure for storage and grids. Everything else will lead to unnecessary costs and increasing global warming.”

The key findings of the study:

  • Existing renewable energy potential and technologies, including storage can generate sufficient and secure power to cover the entire global electricity demand by 2050. The world population is expected to grow from 7.3 to 9.7 billion. The global electricity demand for the power sector is set to increase from 24,310 TWh in 2015 to around 48,800 TWh by 2050.
  • Total levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) on a global average for 100% renewable electricity in 2050 is €52/MWh (including curtailment, storage and some grid costs), compared to €70/MWh in 2015.
  • Due to rapidly falling costs, solar PV and battery storage increasingly drive most of the electricity system, with solar PV reaching some 69%, wind energy 18%, hydropower 8% and bioenergy 2% of the total electricity mix in 2050 globally.
  • Wind energy increases to 32% by 2030. Beyond 2030 solar PV becomes more competitive. The solar PV supply share increases from 37% in 2030 to about 69% in 2050.
  • Batteries are the key supporting technology for solar PV. The storage output covers 31% of the total demand in 2050, 95% of which is covered by batteries alone. Battery storage provides mainly diurnal storage, and renewable energy based gas provides seasonal storage.
  • Global greenhouse gas emissions significantly reduce from about 11 GtCO2eqin 2015 to zero emissions by 2050 or earlier, as the total LCOE of the power system
  • The global energy transition to a 100% renewable electricity system creates 36 million jobs by 2050 in comparison to 19 million jobs in the 2015 electricity system.
  • The total losses in a 100% renewable electricity system are around 26% of the total electricity demand, compared to the current system in which about 58% of the primary energy input is lost.

The study “Global Energy System based on 100% Renewable Energy – Power Sector” will have major implications for policy makers and politicians around the world, as it refutes a frequently used argument by critics that renewables cannot provide full energy supply on an hourly basis.

The first of its art modeling, developed by LUT, computes the cost-optimal mix of technologies based on locally available renewable energy sources for the world structured in 145 regions and calculates the most cost-effective energy transition pathway for electricity supply on an hourly resolution for an entire reference year. The global energy transition scenario is carried out in 5-year time periods from 2015 until 2050. The results are aggregated into nine major regions of the world: Europe, Eurasia, MENA, Sub-Saharan Africa, SAARC, Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, North America and South America.

The study “Global Energy System based on 100% Renewable Energy – Power Sector” is co-funded by the German Federal Environmental Foundation (DBU) and the Stiftung Mercator.

Click here for key findings and the executive summary

The full study is available here

A presentation summarising the global results and further links to regions and countries is available here

Press contact: Doreen Rietentiet, Energy Watch Group, Tel: +49 30 609 898 810, presse©energywatchgroup.org

About the Energy Watch Group

The Energy Watch Group (EWG) is an independent, non-profit global network of scientists and parliamentarians. The EWG commissions research and independent studies and analyses on global energy developments.

[1] The simulations of the global power sector in this study were made until 2050. Yet, with favorable political frameworks, the transition to 100% renewable energy can be realized earlier than 2050.

Urgent rethink required as Germany’s Energy Transition stalls

Energy Watch Group says renewables must increase prominence after coming election

15.09.2017, Berlin – With the German election looming later this month, the country is seeing its ambitious Energy Transition – the Energiewende – stall. The former global leader is seeing the rate at which renewable energy is being installed dramatically fall.

Behind the decline, argues the Energy Watch Group in a new report, is a series of policy failures. The tender process, put in place to encourage renewable deployment and replace Germany’s feed-in tariff, has been a complete failure, says the Energy Watch Group. Dramatic declines in large scale solar PV, biomass, hydropower, and geothermal have taken place since tenders were introduced, with wind power set to follow suit in 2019.

Most worryingly, at the rate at which renewables are being installed in Germany at present, they will be insufficient to replace nuclear closures and will derail the country’s decarbonization program.

“Germany moved from frontrunner to laggard, exactly at the time when renewables are the cheapest option, and Germany must rethink its policy structures and move away from tenders towards a modern feed-in tariff,” says Hans-Josef Fell, former German parliamentarian and Energy Watch Group President.

Fell observes that in the current election campaign, energy and Germany’s Energy Transition project has been sidelined, and must urgently return to the center.

The Energy Watch Group report sets out not only the extent of the policy failures regarding renewables, but also points to the danger to the German economy if it and the Energy Transition continues to stall.

“Germany is becoming disconnected from one of the most dynamic and disruptive sectors within the global economy, with China, India, and the U.S. standing by to take the lead,” said Dieter Janecek, German Parliamentarian, and member of the Bündnis 90/Die Grünen party’s economic and energy committee. “These countries are embracing this new economy, solar, wind, e-mobility, storage at the moment Germany is turning its back. In some years Germany will import the technologies from abroad, and no-one will buy the German technology and products.”

The Energy Watch Group advises that the new majority in the German parliament after the forthcoming election should pursue a very different policy agenda with regards to renewable energy deployment. This should involve:

  • Abandoning the tender process for renewables;
  • Removing unnecessary bureaucracy hampering deployment;
  • Installing a ‘modern’ feed-in tariff for combined renewable investment;
  • Incorporating grid integration as a target for all investors in renewables

The Energy Watch Group report is available in English and in German.

Find this press release here as PDF.

New studies show that the fossil fuel dependent countries can switch to fully renewable electricity systems and achieve zero-carbon emissions till 2050.

March 17, 2017, Berlin/Lappeenranta – In India, Iran and Nigeria electricity supply fully based on renewable energy sources and storage is feasible until 2050 and is more cost-efficient than other existing energy supply options. This is the result of a series of studies by researchers of the Lappeenranta University of Technology, including authors from the respective countries.

The fully renewable electricity systems in India, Iran and Nigeria would be 60-70% cheaper than the so-called “low-carbon” energy options, including nuclear power or the fossil fuel energy combined with the CCS.

“All the three countries have abundant renewable energy sources and will be facing a rising energy demand in the coming years and decades. The transformation of the fossil fuel dependent economies can solve energy security issues and drive the economic growth”, Christian Breyer, Professor for Solar Economy at the Lappeenranta University of Technology and Co-chairman of the Energy Watch Group scientific board said.

The new studies have modeled on a full hourly resolution the energy sectors electricity, desalination and industrial gas in India, Iran and Nigeria, fully based on renewable energy and storage. According to the studies, solar PV and battery storage will play a dominant role in the electricity mix, given their falling costs and given the fact that all three countries belong to the global Sun Belt. Meanwhile, the industrial gas demand can be covered entirely by a mix of biomethane and power-to-gas processes.

“The studies show that investments in new coal and nuclear power plants are no longer necessary and will lead to stranded investments. Climate protection and the avoidance of radioactive hazards are feasible and enable cost-effective energy security,” President of the Energy Watch Group Hans-Josef Fell said.

In India, solar PV and storage will form the backbone of a fully renewable electricity system. In times of low radiation and the monsoon season, wind and hydropower will help to sustain the energy supply, but also solar electricity harvested in other Indian regions not affected by the monsoon and transmitted by the power grid. In Iran, wind energy will be dominant until 2030 with solar PV taking over thereafter. In Nigeria, the study shows a phase out of fossil gas can take place already by 2040, resulting in a solar PV and battery storage dominated electricity system.

 

Share of different energy sources used for power generation in total electricity production in Iran

According to the studies, the costs for one MWh will vary between €37-42 in India, €32-44 in Iran and €35-38 in Nigeria in the year 2050. The overall costs covering production, storage and curtailment will be cheaper than conventional energy sources. For instance, new nuclear power costs some €110 per MWh and the fossil fuel energy plus CCS option some €120 per MWh. The study on Iran shows that if energy transition takes place slower than its potential is, it would cause higher cost for the energy system in the double digit billion € order.

“It is now a matter of favourable policies and financial schemes supporting investments in renewable energy to further accelerate the already impressive exponential growth of renewables and to turn these study results into reality”, Breyer said. “And if India, Iran and Nigeria switch to 100% renewable energy then other countries in their respective regions will most likely follow them as role models”.

 

India: paper and presentation
Iran: paper and presentation
Nigeria: paper and presentation

November 30, 2016, Berlin – The International Energy Agency’s call for new investments in fossil fuels, in particular oil and gas, in its latest World Energy Outlook (WEO) undermines the agency’s seemingly positive messages related to climate protection and the development of renewable energy, an analysis by the Energy Watch Group shows.

The World Energy Outlook 2016, which was presented today in Berlin, calls for increased investment in oil and gas due to oil discoveries at lowest level in more than 60 years and low oil prices. The International Energy Agency (IEA) thereby disregards that the current low investment is in fact caused by the lack of new discoveries and the depletion of existing reserves. Moreover, higher oil prices will not be able to compensate for the lack of funding as cost reductions in the renewable energy sector increasingly challenge the competitiveness of oil and gas.

„Even if oil prices were to rise again, future oil production will not stay at today’s level, simply because of the limited availability. By calling for increased investments in oil, the IEA undermines climate protection efforts and threatens the global energy security. Only a rapid development of renewable energies can close the emerging energy supply gap. Oil investments are not able to do so”, says President of the Energy Watch Group and former member of the German Parliament Hans-Josef Fell.

“Even in its most optimistic scenario, the IEA projects the future level of development of renewable energies to be far below today´s rates. In this way, the IEA misleads the public about the real potential of solar and wind energy as well as e-mobility”, adds Fell.

The analysis by the Energy Watch Group shows: even though the IEA operates with positive messages with regard to renewable energy, a closer look at the numbers reveals that the WEO2016 in fact assumes a lower pace of renewable energy development than already achieved in the last eight years. Furthermore, the IEA seems to ignore the new global dynamic as a result of the Paris Agreement.

Even the report´s most ambitious scenario, the 450 Scenario, assumes that the net added capacity of new solar PV and wind power plants will peak in 2030. The IEA does not provide reasons, why solar and wind plants should face a net decrease of new installations despite their continuously falling prices and a growing global energy demand.

“A decrease in net added capacities stands in stark contrast to projections by leading international market observers. Assuming a slow market penetration of wind power and solar PV also contradicts the dynamic of the global energy transition in the last 10 years,” says Christian Breyer, Professor of Solar Economy at the Lappeenranta University of Technology in Finland and Chairman of the Scientific Board at Energy Watch Group.

The report´s “New Policies Scenario” (NPS) projects that the costs for solar photovoltaic power plants in India will be 800 USD/kWp in 2040. This ignores the fact that the Government of India estimates the current costs for solar PV-plants at 710 USD (670€)/kWp. In addition, the IEA severely underestimates the potential of the e-mobility sector. This is illustrated by the IEA’s assumption that 80% of transport will still be dependent on fossil oil in 2040.

Further examples of the controversial IEA projections in the World Energy Outlook 2016:

  • The IEA assumes that Europe´s gas imports from Russia in 2040 will stay on today´s level. The IEA also projects that Russia will increase its gas production by 20% until 2040. This assumption neglects the fact that gas production in Russia, especially by the major producer Gazprom, is sharply decreasing. In 2015, Gazprom recorded a production of 419 billion m3, the same lowest level as in 1985.
  • The NPS Scenario suggests a net increase in nuclear capacity of 65 GW, the 450 Scenario even approx. 160 GW. The projected construction of 131 new reactors assumed for 2025 suggests that in the coming 8 to 9 years more than twice the 60 reactors currently under construction will be built. This assumption contradicts the experiences of the recent decades.
  • The IEA keeps assuming an increase in coal consumption up until 2040 in all scenarios except for the 450 Scenario, which projects a coal consumption drop by 50% in comparison to today’s levels. Yet, the 10% drop in coal production in China in 2016 as well as the loss of market value by many western coal companies give reason to assume a significantly higher reduction of coal consumption.

“It is long overdue that the IEA changes the status of the 450 Scenario into the NPS Scenario, especially in light of the current Chinese coal policies and the internationally binding Paris Agreement. In addition, the IEA is still blind on both eyes: it underestimates renewable energy on the one hand and overestimates nuclear energy on the other hand”, says Werner Zittel, Senior Energy Expert at the Ludwig-Bölkow-Systemtechnik and Chairman of the Scientific Board at Energy Watch Group.

In 2015, a series of studies by the Energy Watch Group and the Lappeenranta University of Technology showed that the IEA continuously published misleading projections on solar and wind energy in its World Energy Outlook.

Zero-carbon economy needed to meet Paris Agreement

November 4, 2016, Berlin – Germany’s current climate targets are too weak and fall short of meeting the Paris Climate Agreement. Meanwhile, the German government is on track to missing even these weak climate targets, a new study by the Energy Watch Group and the Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas (ASPO) Germany shows.

The Paris Agreement is entering into force today. Yet, the former climate leader Germany is most likely to take off to the world climate conference COP22 in Marrakesh without a Climate Action Plan in place – and is turning into a climate sinner.

“The federal government needs to completely rewrite its Energy Concept and climate targets. The greenhouse gas emission reduction target of 80-95% by 2050 compared to 1990 levels is inadequate to meet the Paris targets”, Hans-Josef Fell, co-author of the study, President of the Energy Watch Group, and Member of the German Parliament 1998-2013 says.

“Current climate protection measures do not bring about any significant emissions reduction. Global temperature is increasing at unprecedented speed. Given the consequences we already observe today, any further increase of global temperatures – 1.5°C or less – should be unacceptable. The target should be a cooling to preindustrial levels”, Fell adds.

The new study ‘German Climate Policy – From Leader to Laggard’ proves that the emissions reduction pathway in Germany has been surpassed every year since 2010. Especially the transport, electricity and agricultural sectors have contributed to this transgression. According to the government projections, in its most ambitious scenario, the transport sector for example will exceed the set 2035 targets by a striking 91%.

“The emissions reduction pathway from 2010 was already exceeded years ago. With the new more ambitious targets of the Paris Agreement in place, additional and stronger measures are now needed. The aim should be a zero-carbon economy by 2030”, Jörn Schwarz, author of the study and chairman of ASPO Germany says.

A global zero-carbon economy should go hand in hand with the creation of effective carbon sinks and requires a range of measures on the policy and technical level. The study shows that 100% renewable energy as well as a functioning circular economy is essential. The study authors recommend including climate protection into the constitution; creating incentives for private investments into climate change protection; and promoting research and education in this field.

“This study clearly shows that the current German energy policy removes any possibility to meet the Paris climate targets. Compared to the ambitious measures of other countries, Germany is increasingly lagging behind on its climate protection action. The federal government is jeopardizing the livelihoods of current and future generations, and the competitive advantage of the country“, Dr. Volker Quaschning, Professor for regenerative energy systems at HTW Berlin, and peer reviewer of the study says.

The study is currently only available in German. You can find it here.

Despite slightly increasing its renewables projections, the IEA still heavily underestimates the growth of wind and solar PV energy in its new report, Energy Watch Group (EWG) analysis shows.

October 27, 2016, Berlin – The International Energy Agency (IEA) is again underestimating the growth of renewable energy sources in its latest Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report 2016, the analysis by the Energy Watch Group shows. Despite an overall increase of 13% in the IEA’s projection for renewable energy capacity from the last forecast in 2015, the new figures covering the period to 2021 still suggest that annual installations of wind energy and solar photovoltaics (PV) would peak in 2015 and 2016, respectively, and would not grow anymore.

„The IEA is playing a dangerous game using misleading assumptions in its renewables projections. Although solar PV and wind are already the lowest cost sources of electricity in many regions in the world, the IEA continues to project that annual installations in these two sectors would not grow in the coming five years compared to the already achieved levels in 2015 and 2016“, Professor of Solar Economy at Lappeenranta University of Technology in Finland and Chairman of the EWG scientific board Christian Breyer said.

The EWG analysis also shows that the IEA’s investment cost assumptions for solar PV in major markets for 2016 are at least 20% higher than in reality. Current prices for PV power plants in India are about 750 USD/kWp. Meanwhile, the IEA report says the prices in the leading markets (China and Germany) should not be lower than 1150 – 1300 USD/kWp, whereas in reality they are already 35-40% lower than that. The costs of global weighted average electricity generation, projected for 2021 by the IEA, are about today’s cost. This means that the IEA ignores the currently observed cost decline of about 5-10% per year.

According to the IEA, in the period 2016 – 2021, solar PV capacity will add 85 GW in Asia Pacific. Meanwhile, India alone plans to install about 90 GW (100 GW until 2022) in the same period and the Indian Minister of Energy said in spring 2016 that new solar PV is the least cost source of electricity, in particular cheaper than new coal plants. “We would like to know why the IEA assumes that this policy target in India will not be achieved. We have not found valid arguments in the report”, Breyer said.

The IEA is also projecting lack of growth of annually sold electric vehicles after 2020, despite trends indicating that electric cars will be cheaper than comparable cars with combustion engines before the year 2025. This has been projected by leading financial analysts such as Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

“In the last 10 years, the IEA has been making misleading projections for solar PV and wind, as well as e-mobility, ignoring the radical price fall in these sectors. This appears as an attempt of protecting fossil fuel business that has come under economic pressure”, President of Energy Watch Group and former Member of the German Parliament Hans-Josef Fell said. “We call on the IEA to urgently review its assumptions and to finally make realistic projections in its forthcoming World Energy Outlook.”

In its 2015 series of studies, the Energy Watch Group together with the Lappeenranta University of Technology proved that the IEA’s annual World Energy Outlook reports between 1994 and 2015 had published misleading projections on solar PV and wind energy. The WEO has a significant impact on both political and economic decisions of governments regarding energy all around the world. The Energy Watch Group plans to assess the IEA’s forthcoming World Energy Outlook, due to be launched on November 16.

New Study: Low-Cost Energy System in India without Nuclear and Coal Base Load by 2030 Feasible

September 27, 2016, Berlin/Lappeenranta – In India, energy supply, fully based on renewable energy sources, storage and distribution, is feasible and the most cost-effective option for 2030 assumptions, a new study by the Lappeenranta University of Technology and the Energy Watch Group shows.

“Our modelling has proven that fluctuating wind and solar energy, supplemented by highly flexible bioenergy, hydropower, geothermal energy and storage, can provide the lowest-cost electricity in India by 2030 on an hourly basis and during all seasons throughout the year, including the monsoon period”, the study lead author and professor of Solar Economy at Lappeenranta University of Technology in Finland, Christian Breyer, said. “In such sustainable and future-oriented energy systems, nuclear and coal-fired base load would be unreasonable and disruptive”.

“Despite some positive political initiatives on renewable energy in India, including the International Solar Alliance, the Indian government still does not give up its plans on new coal and nuclear power plants, arguing that they are indispensable for the power supply base load. Our study proves just the opposite,” President of Energy Watch Group and former Member of the German Parliament Hans-Josef Fell said.

“We believe that by investing in rapid renewable energy and storage, India has high chances to join and even overtake the leading countries on renewable energy,” Fell added.

The study represents the first research results for achieving a solid basis for the Indian future-oriented energy system in line with the Paris Agreement targets. The authors plan an extensive research on the entire energy system in India, including transport, heat, seawater desalination and the industrial sector.