Solar power a clear leader, IEA report finds

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The IEA said renewables will continue to show strong growth over the coming years with electricity capacity set to increase by more than almost 1,000 gigawatts (GW), or 43 per cent, by 2022.

The growth of solar energy continues to outpace forecasts and this growth, according to a report published Wednesday by the International Energy Agency, (IEA) "is a China story".

"We see renewables growing by about 1,000 GW by 2022, which equals about half of the current global capacity in coal power, which took 80 years to build", Fatih Birol, IEA's executive director, said in the report.

In 2016, it expanded renewable capacity by 24 GW, which was 44 per cent higher than in 2015 and more than the European Union for the first time.

After the success of the first wind auction resulted in discovery of record low wind tariff of Rs3.46 per kWh in February 2017, the ministry of new and renewable energy sanctioned a second wind auction scheme for setting up of 1,000 MW ISTS connected wind power projects on 4 May 2017.

Renewables will account for 30 percent of electricity consumption of EVs by 2022, up from 26 percent today, the report says.

Additions of solar PV grew faster than any other fuel and surpassed the net growth in coal, the IEA added.

"Still, the current uncertainty over proposed federal tax reforms, global trade and energy policies could alter the economic attractiveness of renewables and hamper their growth over our forecast period", the IEA's report read. Globally, electricity consumed by EVs - including cars, two- and-three wheelers, and buses - is expected to double by 2022 but will still account for less than 1% of total electricity generation.

The steep fall in wind energy tariffs mirrors the trend in solar power and may pose a formidable challenge to conventional thermal plants, many of which generate electricity at much higher rates.

Newly appointed Power and New and Renewable Energy minister Raj Kumar Singh announced last month that he has instructed that 20,000MW each of wind and solar power contracts be auctioned by December.

There are worries that India's rock-bottom prices will make its solar industry non-viable in the future.

By 2022, China is predicted to produce over 360 GW of green energy, representing 40 percent of the world's total output, according to the report. However Frankl believes that the vastly reduced cost of solar and wind will likely limit the impact wrought by President Trump.