If energy prices are a reliable indicator, then power grids even in green-friendly Europe are not yet ready for a comprehensive transition to renewable energy. Due to lagging investment and development of storage technologies for renewable power, unseasonably sunny and windy periods across Europe continue to lead to imbalances in power supply and demand that result a bizarre phenomenon: negative energy prices.
- Electricity prices in several European countries, including Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the UK, have dipped below zero several times in 2018 alone, according to EPEX Spot, a large European power trading exchange.
- Germany should be the trend setter across Europe for investment in technology to harness renewable energy. It is not only the fourth largest country globally by solar power installed capacity and generation, but it is also Europe’s largest producer. Yet, Germany’s electricity prices have dipped below zero 22 times during the last nine years, proving even this renewable powerhouse is not ready for a comprehensive transition to green power.
While renewable energy has not yet outrun all fossil fuels in terms of the total energy production, the current trajectory is favorable for an unprecedented "green" revolution in energy capable of radically realigning energy markets. The pace of installation of solar panels has beat all records, and this is only the beginning. Costs associated with windmills and solar panels alike are continuing to decline to profitable terms for countries and communities of all sizes.
- Already the growth rate for installed solar and wind capacity has outstripped coal, gas, and nuclear fuel even though fossil fuels remain the primary electricity generation sources globally. In addition, total installed capacity for renewables now exceeds coal.
- The US Energy Information Administration predicts that in 2050 wind and solar energy will comprise six percent of total electricity generation, up from five percent in 2017. At the same time, the share of coal-fired electricity generation will decrease from 40 to 28.5 percent over the same period.
Last updated: Monday, 08 October 2018