UN report: Clean power is up, costs are down

Apr 6, 2017

By Roger Harrabin

The world added record levels of renewable energy capacity in 2016, according to the UN.

But the bill was almost a quarter lower than the previous year, thanks to the plunging cost of renewables.

Investment in renewables capacity was roughly double that in fossil fuels, says the report from UN Environment.

It follows news that the cost of offshore wind power has fallen by around a third since 2012 – far faster than expected.

But the report’s authors sound the alarm that just as costs are plunging, some major nations are scaling back their green energy investments.

This, they say, reduces the likelihood of meeting the Paris climate agreement.

Continue reading by clicking the name of the source below.

10 comments on “UN report: Clean power is up, costs are down

  • @OP – Investment in renewables capacity was roughly double that in fossil fuels, says the report from UN Environment.

    It follows news that the cost of offshore wind power has fallen by around a third since 2012 – far faster than expected.

    But the report’s authors sound the alarm that just as costs are plunging, some major nations are scaling back their green energy investments.

    Unfortunately despite the solutions to climate change becoming increasingly available and economically viable, the forces of backward stupidity, are trying to drag the world back into their obsolete polluted world of antiquated power carbon burning power generation systems.

    Fortunately – those investors with vision, and market forces are likely to leave them sitting amid their stranded assets while the new clean technologies take over!

    But Michael Liebreich from BNEF said
    the key argument over costs had been won:
    “The question always used to be ‘will renewables ever be grid competitive?’.

    “Well, after the dramatic cost reductions of the past few years,
    unsubsidised wind and solar can provide
    the lowest cost new electrical power
    in an increasing number of countries,
    even in the developing world – sometimes by a factor of two.”

    And Ulf Moslener added a message directed at President Trump:
    “These technologies are there because they are competitive.
    We see wind – and in some cases solar – are the cheapest alternatives. Subsidies play less of a role.
    That’s where the markets are going, and it’s probably a bad idea to work against markets.”

    That does not mean that their obstructive foot-dragging will not cause damage to billions of people through the delays in dealing with climate problems which THEY are creating!

    Report abuse

  • But he said the cost of wind power could be deceptive, as it didn’t include the cost of supplying the cables to tie turbines into the national grid.

    True of all power systems if they are going to be connected to a national grid. The advantage of alternative energies is they do not necessarily need to be. In a country like Australia with a very low population density compared to a massive area this is a solution that really only alternatives are viable on. You can run a small country town of a solar or single wind turbine and use some form of battery storage cheaper that building hundreds of km’s of power-lines/poles. I’ve never heard anyone in the establishment question the cost of building floating structures made to sit off shore and drill a km into the Earth to get oil then transport in ships, refining plants, then in trucks to every fuel station. Seems we accept the cost as part of having access to oil.

    I find it also amusing that with wind now they want to factor in that cost in spite of the nuclear or coal power having required the construction and maintenance of a national electrical grid. How much did the national grid cost to build and maintain? I’m sure in this case the cost of what a few kms of underwater power cable was put into the budget and it wouldn’t have been done unless it made some sort of economic sense.

    Report abuse

  • Reckless Monkey #2
    Apr 6, 2017 at 6:56 pm

    But he said the cost of wind power could be deceptive, as it didn’t include the cost of supplying the cables to tie turbines into the national grid.

    True of all power systems if they are going to be connected to a national grid. The advantage of alternative energies is they do not necessarily need to be.

    I left this “false balance” deniers claim, off my quote, because it cherry-picks the cost of grid connection for renewables, but fails to mention the grid connections for all systems which you mention, OR the cost of road, rail, or pipeline links needed for supplying fuel to carbon burning systems!

    Report abuse

  • For anyone interested in getting a basic idea of how renewables can work in general Robert Lewellen does a good little web series on alternative energies all aimed at people without significant education in these areas. Quite well done. It’s called Fully Charged and has some great showcases of upcoming technologies and reviews of systems already in place. Of particular interest is his last show on flow batteries.


    Flow Batteries


    Report abuse

  • It seems that those “complicated” international politics have intruded into Trump and mates’ profitable oily pollution plans!


    Oil giant Exxon Mobil will not be allowed to resume drilling in Russia after US President Donald Trump vowed to uphold sanctions.

    The US Treasury Department said that, after talks with Mr Trump, it would not waive trade sanctions on Russia for US firms seeking to restart work.

    It had been reported that Exxon, the world’s largest publicly traded oil company, had sought a dispensation.

    The US and European Union imposed economic sanctions on Russia in 2014.

    It followed Russia’s annexation of the Crimea region in 2014 and role in the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

    Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement on Friday: “In consultation with President Donald J Trump, the Treasury Department will not be issuing waivers to US companies, including Exxon, authorising drilling prohibited by current Russian sanctions.”

    Exxon has a joint venture with Russia’s Rosneft in the Black Sea, Arctic Kara Sea and Siberia, projects that were to form a big part of the US company’s future growth.

    But Texas-based Exxon was forced to wind down drilling after sanctions were imposed.

    The company’s former chief, Rex Tillerson, has been appointed Mr Trump’s Secretary of State.

    One of the controversies around this appointment was Mr Tillerson’s apparent closeness to senior figures in the Moscow government, including Vladimir Putin.

    The Wall Street Journal, which first reported that Exxon was seeking a waiver, said the company was concerned that its international oil rivals were gaining an advantage in Russia.

    Report abuse

  • Alan4discussion #5
    Apr 21, 2017 at 5:16 pm

    It seems that those “complicated” international politics have intruded into Trump and mates’ profitable oily pollution plans!

    Trump is very much hoist with his own petard. The spotlight is on him so brightly with congressional investigations and a constant stream of new revelations about Russian contacts that he daren’t yet take any overt action about Exxon or sanctions. How galling it must be to have all that lovely oil sat there begging to be drilled, Tillerson primed and ready to go but nothing he can do about it yet.

    For those who missed it there’s now another twist to the tale. The list of Trump associates who had contact with Russians has grown yet again. Betsy Devos’ brother Erik Prince who co-founded the Blackwater mercenary outfit which provided security services in Iraq and Afghanistan is also involved in this mess it seems. He flew to the Seychelles off the east coast of Africa for meetings with Russian officials in january this year supposedly to try and establish a back channel for communications between Trump and Putin.

    This also gives us a little more insight into why Betsy herself, a woman who clearly knew nothing about education during her grilling in congress, is now education secretary. The majority of Trump’s administration is staffed by cronies, donors and those who were involved with the Russians to get him elected. So considering how many times Trump himself denied that anyone he even knew had ever had any contact with Russians during the election the list is now up to (and I’m sure I’ll forget someone), Flynn, Manafort, Carter Page, Sessions, JD Gordon, Erik Prince, Roger Stone and oh yes, his son-in-law Jared Kushner. The stench of corruption is overpowering and the lies and denials so empty and hollow now you wonder why he just continues to trot them out.

    The scale of all this is so huge I think it’s beyond our grasp. If Obama or Hillary had done a single one of the things that Trump does routinely it would have had Republicans foaming at the mouth. Hell, they still witter on about Benghazi five years later which wasn’t even anyone’s fault in the first place. Ironically, Trump hasn’t even nominated anyone yet for the state position that oversees diplomatic security abroad despite railing against Hillary about it for the entire campaign. However what would be headline news for any other president recedes into the background with Trump because so much else is fighting for coverage. We are suffering from lie, corruption, incompetence overload.

    What Nunes did amounts to treason IMO. He obstructed and deflected his own congressional hearing into Russian sabotage of American democracy. If that’s not treason I don’t know what is. It would be monstrous news at any other time but it no longer even merits airtime. Too much else drowns it out.

    We seem to be in the situation of a MASH surgeon doing triage. The badly injured foot which may end up being lost but isn’t life threatening will have to wait while there are chests full of shrapnel to attend to.

    I’m also not sure if the full horror of what they have done has sunk into those who voted for Trump yet. Not his die hard supporters of course but the “never Hillary” types or those who were too dim to really see what he was like but wanted a non insider, or so they thought, or just a change from all the career politicians. Those who didn’t realise that a man who lies compulsively is not going to stop doing that and that nothing he promised would ever come true. Those who got suckered by the carny barker whose bearded lady was just a girl wearing a false beard. Admitting you screwed up is hard for people. They double down and start making excuses. If you choose a new car and then find out you could have bought a bigger, faster more economical one for less money you still try and find reasons why the one you did buy is so great. To convince yourself as much as anyone else because otherwise you just feel stupid.

    Well they should feel stupid. What he was really like was blindingly obvious to many of us all along. He’s a lying, cheating, narcissistic sociopath who uses people to further his own interests and nothing else matters to him. He will never release his tax returns, never divest himself of his business interests, never keep any of his empty promises and he’ll rape this presidency for every penny he can make from it. Only the huge mess he’s got himself into is stopping any of this happening faster. His incompetence and stupidity will be his downfall. He’s just not smart enough to negotiate waters this choppy. He can’t keep his big mouth shut.

    His shambolic administration lurches onward though. Contradicting each other on an hourly basis, losing an entire battle fleet, stoking global tensions daily. One day he might well just wake up in a bad mood and start bombing North Korea. We can never know. He’ll probably be playing golf while South Korea burns. Nero would be so proud.

    Report abuse

  • So while Trump and Co. are in conflicted denial – elsewhere prodress is being made!


    First coal-free day in Britain since Industrial Revolution

    Britain went a full day without using coal to generate electricity for the first time since the Industrial Revolution, the National Grid says.

    The energy provider said Friday’s lack of coal usage was a “watershed” moment.

    Britain’s longest continuous energy period without coal until now was 19 hours – first achieved last May, and again on Thursday.

    The government plans to phase out Britain’s last plants by 2025 in order to cut carbon emissions.

    Friday is thought to be the first time the nation has not used coal to generate electricity since the world’s first centralised public coal-fired generator opened in 1882, at Holborn Viaduct in London.

    Cordi O’Hara of the National Grid said: “To have the first working day without coal since the start of the industrial revolution is a watershed moment in how our energy system is changing.

    “The UK benefits from highly diverse and flexible sources of electricity. Our energy mix continues to change and National Grid adapts system operation to embrace these changes.”

    But Ms O’Hara says that while the country makes the transition to a low carbon system, coal remains an important source of energy.

    According to Gridwatch.co.uk, around half of British energy on Friday came from natural gas, with about a quarter coming from nuclear plants.

    Wind, biomass, and imported energy were also used.

    Report abuse

  • Trump’s desperation to improve the ratings of his reality show fake presidency as the 100 day marker comes up are palpable now. It’s quite pathetic. Busing the entire Senate to the White House just to tell them what they already knew; that North Korea dude is a bad dude n’kay. A one page handout for a massive tax cut he has no idea how to pay for anyway and which wouldn’t pass even if he had every seat in both the house and senate. Empty thetoric on the Wall and how to pay for it. He lambasted Obama for using executive orders rather than cutting deals in Congress but Trump has signed more than anyone for 70 years in his first 100 days because that’s all he can do. Everyone in Congress hates him.

    Sadly there’s always one thing that American presidents can do to improve their ratings in a country so madly jingoistic and that’s bang the drums of war. He’s got North Korea, Iran, Syria and ISIS to choose from. In practical terms there’s nothing much he can do about any of them but no doubt he’ll manage to push everyone towards some sort of crisis.

    Flynn could be the thorn in Trump’s side very soon though. Now we know he didn’t even declare his foreign earnings on his tax returns as well as never registering as a foreign agent. He’ll be increasingly desperate for immunity in return for testifying. If he says that Trump himself, or at least someone directly under him, told Flynn to make contact with Russians to help fix the election then all sorts of things will hit various fans in quick succession.

    Report abuse

  • Reckless,
    Fully Charged on Oz residential flow batteries is excellent.

    Second link doesn’t work.

    General comment-

    Alan and Arkrid have become essential starting places for my Trump news

    Report abuse

  • Well the 100 days are up and thankfully the world is still mainly intact although parts of it are on high alert now. With almost no real achievements to tout during that time Trump has been busy inventing them. In an interview with the AP last week he told 16 lies ranging from pants on fire to exaggerated numbers


    plus 16 parts of the interview transcript had to be marked as unintelligible so maybe a few more lies were buried in those parts. However I think it was his Reuters interview that got to me the most where he announced he’d now realised that being president was actually harder than running a string of failed businesses. I mean who knew? Like healthcare was hard too but he’d thought that would be so easy before he took office. The real nugget in there though is hard to find in the online reports but I saw it on the interview video on MSNBC where he says you know me “I’m a details guy”. Dunning – Kruger in its purest form. This is the man who waged an entire campaign without a single policy detail other than he’d be so great. The man who signed Bannon onto the security council because he didn’t read the bit of paper needing his signature. The man who clearly had no idea what was really in the healthcare bill he touted that would have taken it away from 24 million people or the $5.5 trillion tax cut for the rich that was announced with a one page flier with no maths in it.

    Oh sure there are some details he’s very much into. He doesn’t want the details of his tax returns to be known because they’ll show the full extent of his tax evasion and avoidance and his ties with foreign interests. He doesn’t want the details of his treasonous contact with Russians to affect the election to be known. He doesn’t want the details of his conflicts of business interests and foreign emoluments to be known as he steadily profits from the presidency.

    The extent of those profits is starting to become clear now. He doubled the entry fee to Mar-a-Lago from $100,000 to $200,000 as soon as he took office which is why he flies there every weekend. There’d be no point in foreign interests buying a membership to get access to him if he was never there so he squanders $3 million of taxpayers money every trip to line his own pockets. The Secret Service get charged for the use of the golf carts to follow him about every time he plays a round of golf. They get charged for the use of the elevators at Trump Tower to protect Melanoma and her kid while she stays as far away from him as possible. Sources say she can’t stand him and would be divorcing if it weren’t for A) the huge amounts of money she gets to spend and B) the presidency needing to not be tarnished any further. We’ll see how long she hangs around in 4 years time.

    Report abuse

Leave a Reply

View our comment policy.