Renewable energy capacity overtakes coal

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The International Energy Agency says that the world’s capacity to generate electricity from renewable sources has now overtaken coal.

The IEA says in a new report that last year, renewables accounted for more than half of the increase in power capacity.

The report says half a million solar panels were installed every day last year around the world.

In China, it says, there were two wind turbines set up every hour.

Renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar and hydro are seen as a key element in international efforts to combat climate change.

At this stage, it is the capacity to generate power that has overtaken coal, rather than the amount of electricity actually produced.

Renewables are intermittent – they depend on the sun shining or the wind blowing, for example, unlike coal which can generate electricity 24 hours a day all year round.

So renewable technologies inevitably generate a lot less than their capacity.

Even so it is striking development.

The IEA’s Executive Director Fatih Birol said “We are witnessing a transformation of global power markets led by renewables”.

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In this article, we look at the rise in electricity costs, the immediate outlook into the future and the role of Renewable Energy.

Early in November, Eskom submitted an application to the Energy Regulator (NERSA) to retrieve unrecovered revenue for the 2013/2014 financial year from the Regulatory Clearing Account (RCA). The application was done to recover R22.8 billion applicable to this period.

If approved, this could potentially mean an increase in tariffs of up to 17% from the 1st of April 2016.

Eskom further indicates that there will be another submission to address the shortfall on the 2014/2015 year. This means that the impact of higher increases, will be felt beyond next years increase.

The percentage NERSA approved was 8% per year until the 2017/2018 financial year, however, NERSA already deviated from this by granting a 12.69% for the 2015/2016 year. This was on the merit of recovering R7.8 billion in costs.

As a quick comparison, if a R7.8 billion recovery led to a 12.69% increase, then it would be fair to make the assumption that a R22.8 billion recovery would lead to a greater increase than the 12.69% granted for the current financial year ending March 2016? Read More