Category Archives: Civil Society

New ‘power-to-X’ prospects may arise as renewables costs continue to fall

Engineering News, 15 January, 2018.

The outlook for solar and wind electricity costs to 2020 “presages historically low costs for new renewable electricity”, which could create new economic and industrialopportunities, a new International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) report argues.

Released in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates, this weekend, the report states that, by 2020, all existing renewable generation technologies will fall within the fossil fuel-fired cost range, with most, notably onshore wind and solar photovoltaic (PV) technologies, at the lower end, or undercutting fossil fuels.

The global weighted average costs over the last 12 months for onshore wind and solar PV were $0.06/kWh (ZAR 0.756/kWh) and $0.10/kWh (ZAR 0.13/kWh)  respectively, with onshore wind routinely commissioned for $0.04/kWh (ZAR 0.50/kWh). The current cost spectrum for fossil fuel power generation, by contrast, ranges from $0.05/kWh to $0.17/kWh (ZAR 0.63 – 2.12/kWh).

(Ed. note: South Africa’s Bid Window 4 rates are: solar PV ZAR 0.62/kWh and wind ZAR0.79/kWh. See

“Based on the latest auction and project-level cost data, global average costs could decline to about $0.05/kWh (ZAR 0.63/kWh) for onshore wind and $0.06/kWh (ZAR 0.76/kWh) for solar PV,” the ‘Renewable Power Generation Costs in 2017’ report states.

100% Renewable Energy Worldwide Isn’t Just Possible, It’s More Cost-Effective Than the Existing System

Alternet, 21 December, 2018.

New study finds renewable energy can meet global electricity demand by 2050 while reducing total cost.

(Ed. Note: The research was co-funded by the German Federal Environmental Foundation and the Stiftung Mercator, so it is reliable and credible.)

Transitioning the world to 100 percent renewable electricity isn’t just some environmentalist pipe dream—it’s “feasible at every hour throughout the year” and is more cost-effective than the current system, which largely relies on fossil fuels and nuclear energy, a new study claims.

The research, compiled by Finland’s Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT) and the Berlin-based nonprofit Energy Watch Group (EWG), was presented Wednesday at the Global Renewable Energy Solutions Showcase, a stand-alone event coinciding with the COP 23 climate talks in Bonn, Germany.

The authors say that the existing renewable energy potential and technologies coupled with storage can generate enough energy to meet the global electricity demand by 2050.

The researchers estimate that the switch will bring the total levelized cost of electricity on a global average down to €52 ($61) per megawatt-hour (including curtailment, storage and some grid costs) compared to €70 (82) megawatt-hour in 2015.

“A full decarbonization of the electricity system by 2050 is possible for lower system cost than today based on available technology,” said Christian Breyer, the lead author of the study.

“Energy transition is no longer a question of technical feasibility or economic viability, but of political will,” added Breyer, who is also a professor of Solar Economy at LUT and serves as chairman of EWG’s Scientific Board.

According to the study, solar power and battery storage are critical parts of the transition. Falling prices will also lead to widespread adoption of the technologies. The researchers predict that the globe’s electricity mix by 2050 will consist of solar photovoltaics (69 percent), wind energy (18 percent), hydropower (8 percent) and bioenergy (2 percent).

By following this path, greenhouse gas emissions in the electricity sector will come down to zero and drastically reduce total losses in power generation, the study found. Not only that, the renewable energy transition would create 36 million jobs by 2050, 17 million more than today.

“There is no reason to invest one more dollar in fossil or nuclear power production,” EWG president Hans-Josef Fell said. “Renewable energy provides cost-effective power supply. All plans for a further expansion of coal, nuclear, gas and oil have to be ceased. More investments need to be channeled in renewable energies and the necessary infrastructure for storage and grids. Everything else will lead to unnecessary costs and increasing global warming.”

This is the not the first time researchers have suggested that the planet’s road to 100 percent renewables is possible. Earlier this year, Stanford University professor Mark Jacobson and 26 co-authors published a study and created clean energy roadmaps for 139 individual countries. The chosen countries emit more than 99 percent of all carbon dioxide worldwide.

Here are the key findings of the current study:

  • Existing renewable energy potential and technologies, including storage can generate sufficient and secure power to cover the entire global electricity demand by 2050. The world population is expected to grow from 7.3 to 9.7 billion. The global electricity demand for the power sector is set to increase from 24,310 TWh in 2015 to around 48,800 TWh by 2050.
  • Total levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) on a global average for 100% renewable electricity in 2050 is €52/MWh (including curtailment, storage and some grid costs), compared to €70/MWh in 2015.
  • Due to rapidly falling costs, solar PV and battery storage increasingly drive most of the electricity system, with solar PV reaching some 69%, wind energy 18%, hydropower 8% and bioenergy 2% of the total electricity mix in 2050 globally.
  • Wind energy increases to 32% by 2030. Beyond 2030 solar PV becomes more competitive. The solar PV supply share increases from 37% in 2030 to about 69% in 2050.
  • Batteries are the key supporting technology for solar PV. The storage output covers 31% of the total demand in 2050, 95% of which is covered by batteries alone. Battery storage provides mainly diurnal storage, and renewable energy based gas provides seasonal storage.
  • Global greenhouse gas emissions significantly reduce from about 11 GtCO2eq in 2015 to zero emissions by 2050 or earlier, as the total LCOE of the power system
  • The global energy transition to a 100% renewable electricity system creates 36 million jobs by 2050 in comparison to 19 million jobs in the 2015 electricity system.
  • The total losses in a 100% renewable electricity system are around 26% of the total electricity demand, compared to the current system in which about 58% of the primary energy input is lost.

The research was co-funded by the German Federal Environmental Foundation and the Stiftung Mercator.

Auctions are having dramatic effects on renewable energy prices

IRENA, January, 2018.

At least 67 countries had used auctions for renewable energy contracts by mid-2016, up from less than 10 in 2005. This auctions report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) provides key updates on this crucial mechanism for price discovery and market development.

Average contract prices fell to USD 50 per megawatt-hour (MWh) for solar and USD 40/MWh for wind power in 2016, compared to USD 250/MWh and USD 80/MWh, respectively, in 2010. Chile, Mexico, Morocco, Peru and the United Arab Emirates achieved record price lows with solar and wind auctions in 2016. Along with falling technology costs, policy support and improved access to finance have helped drive accelerating renewable energy development.

Chapter 1 gives the highlights of renewable energy auctions held or announced in 2016.

Chapter 2 reviews the main trends and analyses the evolution of prices resulting from auctions.

Price determinants, analysed in Chapter 3, include:

  • access to finance and country-specific conditions;
  • investor confidence and a conducive environment;
  • other policies aimed at supporting renewable energy development; and
  • auction design elements.

Chapter 4 presents country case studies to show how the design of each auction has to be tailored to a specific context and objectives.

Chapter 5 analyses the use of auctions to promote less mature technologies, such as offshore wind and biomass, while also delivering socio-economic benefits.

Finally, Chapter 6 outlines key considerations in renewable energy auction design, including trade-offs between maximum cost-effectiveness and other objectives.

The report follows IRENA’s earlier studies:

Here is the full report: IRENA_Renewable_Energy_Auctions_2017

Does hope inspire more action on climate change than fear? We don’t know.

David Roberts,, 7 December, 2017

This is something completely different, but well worth reading!

On climate change communications, the science really isn’t settled.


NEWS RELEASE                                                                                                                    



 Today, the Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute (SAFCEI) and the Campaign for a Just Energy Future (CJEF) joined a number of civil society organisations to discuss the way forward, following the deliberate exclusion of civil society in the Minister of Energy’s rushed energy indaba, planned for tomorrow and Friday (7-8 December).

According to SAFCEI, the short notice indaba does not fulfil the Western Cape High Court’s ruling regarding meaningful participation in the nuclear court case – since it was announced just more than two weeks ago, it was only accessible by invitation, and therefore not open to the public or various concerned civil society organisations.

In November, Energy Minister David Mahlobo told parliament that the energy plan will have nuclear energy even though the draft released for comment in 2016 found no need for nuclear energy.

There is overwhelming evidence that it is too costly and also unnecessary. In addition to this, a study published by Eskom further reinforces that there is no rational case to support nuclear.

According to Pooven Moodley, Campaign Coordinator for the Campaign for a Just Energy Future, the number and nature of the organisations excluded from the invite list is serious cause for alarm and feels like a manoeuvre to wilfully exclude those in civil society who are working on energy.

“While the Minister of Finance says that SA will take on nuclear at a rate and pace the country can afford, he is unwavering in his desire to keep it in the plan. It is unclear whether Minister Mahlobo’s intentions are questionable and linked to #StateCapture claims or whether his insistence on nuclear has to do with his naivety in the role of Energy Minister,” says Moodley.

Liz McDaid, SAFCEI’s energy expert says, “SAFCEI was NOT invited, tried to register and at the last minute, after the minister expressly told civil society organisations that the meeting was not for civil society and was by invitation only, suddenly responds saying we can come. This makes no sense, and it seems that the minister is playing games.”

We are serious about engaging with lawful processes as set out in the April 2017 court judgement, which ruled the nuclear deal unlawful and unconstitutional, and ordered government to follow a process of public consultation over any proposed nuclear deal. This indaba is definitely not part of any real consultation.

Lydia Mogano, SAFCEI’s Regional Coordinator in Pretoria says, “The upcoming energy indaba is an epitome of how our government continues to undermine the voices, rights and values of its citizens, and this is disappointing.”

Right2Know Campaign’s Vainola Makan says that R2K is appalled by the closed-door approach to the energy indaba and the fact that environmental and social justice organisations have been excluded.

 Says Makan, “We demand full transparency and full consultation, not a secretive process like this”

 In October, SAFCEI and 40 other organisations – under the banner of the National Campaign for a Just Energy Future (CJEF) – sent a letter to the PCE chair, Fikile Majola, demanding that Parliament also have hearings on energy justice.

“We approached the chairperson to ask what happened to our letter to Parliament, but he did not even have the courtesy to table the letter to the Committee. We asked for the chance for civil society to put our views before the end of November. However, with Parliament has just about closed, the Chair has said that he might have public hearings next year. Sadly, Parliament has failed the people of South Africa in this matter,” said Zainab Adams, Outreach Coordinator at SAFCEI. 

Shu-Aib Appleby from the Muslim Judicial Council – a member organisation of SAFCEI – says, “As faith leaders, our appeal to our faith-conscious and strongly grounded political leadership is that they uphold their oaths of office with the truest of commitments. This means stopping any process to conclude the nuclear deal until there is due public participation, as prescribed by the Constitution and Parliamentary procedure and to make all information available to its constituency, the South African Nation. We also call upon the government to publish its reports on any steps taken on the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) and procurement. We have the right to know.”

Andy Pienaar, Coordinator of the Namaqualand Action Group for Environmental Justice and representing a community affected by nuclear waste in the Northern Cape, and who were also not invited to the indaba adds, “We are tired of the empty promises. The chairperson promised, when we came to parliament last year, to have public hearings. But, it is now a year later and no public engagement has happened, yet now they hold indabas without us. The PCE and its chairperson have failed us.”

“How can Parliament hold the Executive to account if it is not prepared to listen to civil society? We have so much valuable information which can be used to challenge the Executive,” says Pienaar.


Issued by Natasha Adonis, on behalf of SAFCEI. For more information, contact Natasha on 0797-999-654 or