An inconvenient truth - Editorial leader from the January/February 2013 issue of Renewable Energy Focus

The global growth of renewable energy over the last few years cannot be disputed, but can it really play a major role in the world of large-scale electricity generation?

Some would say it already is. Wind power is the obvious example.

“If anybody had said we would be here talking about wind producing 15% of US electricity in 2020, no-one would have believed it,” concludes Christian Kjaer, outgoing CEO of the European Wind Energy Association in my indepth interview with him, starting on page 12 of the January/February 2013 issue of Renewable Energy Focus (cover pictured below).

As he says:

“Fundamentally the technology [onshore] is very affordable, it’s extremely competitive, and you don’t have to worry about what fuel prices are twenty years from now.”

Solar energy has also made major inroads. It has already begun to challenge onshore wind power on price and its lead in the renewables sector. Moreover, according to firms like Trina Solar, 2013 is set to be the year of the solar farm.

As we report on page 38, new developments in concentrated solar power (CSP), such as Yara’s new grade of molten salt, also have the potential to slash CSP costs significantly, bringing the reality of this technology providing large quantities of baseload electricity generation ever nearer.

Even the International Energy Agency (IEA) in its World Energy Outlook 2012, published last November, suggests renewables will become the world’s second-largest source of power generation by 2015. It will “close in on coal as the primary source by 2035”, according to the IEA in fact.

And yet, writing on page 16 of this issue, former IEA Executive Director Nobuo Tanaka urges ...

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Energy infrastructure  •  Photovoltaics (PV)  •  Policy, investment and markets  •  Solar electricity  •  Solar heating and cooling  •  Wind power