By Editors of Power Engineering
Bloomberg’s latest New Energy Outlook predicts nearly half of the world’s electricity will be generated from wind and solar by 2050. Throw in hydro, nuclear and other renewables, and that total will reach 71 percent.
That level will be reached in part by a boom in battery storage, as the technology is expected to dramatically drop in cost and provide stability for intermittent solar and wind production. Total battery storage investment from now through 2050 is expected to reach 1,291 GW, or $548 billion. Battery storage prices have already fallen 79 percent from 2010 levels.
Additionally, solar prices are expected to fall by 71 percent by 2050, with wind dropping 58 percent in the same time.
Coal will suffer under Bloomberg’s predictions, with global production falling from 38 percent now to just 11 percent in 2050. Natural gas use is expected to grow only modestly overall, with gas use falling in Europe but growing in China and India.
In the United States, both coal and nuclear power is expected to almost disappear from the power mix, at least with the current state of nuclear technology.
Total new power generation capacity between 2018 and 2050 is expected to reach $11.5 trillion, with $8.4 trillion of that going to wind and solar and another $1.5 trillion going to other zero-carbon technologies including hydro and nuclear.
Electric vehicles will become a significant part of power demand and grow to 3,461 TWh by 2050, or nine percent of total electric demand.