Cancelled? The disruption caused due to the global pandemic has jeopardised RE growth in Asia | Photo: Freight Waves

COVID-19 impact: 150 GW renewable energy projects at risk in Asia Pacific

Around 150 GW of renewable projects are at risk across Asia Pasific over the next four years if the coronavirus-induced recession extends beyond 2020, according to research and consultancy firm Wood Mackenzie. The region accounted for 75% of global power demand growth over the past five years as it led the world in wind and solar energy sectors. Researchers said the next few months will reveal if the region falls further into recession or if it recovers. Key indicators to monitor the trajectory include power demand growth, credit terms for renewables projects, cost competition between renewables and fossil fuels and government support, including stimulus for renewables markets. WoodMac said if markets go into big recessions and the pandemic is not brought under control then approximately 1,000 TWh of demand could be lost by 2023. This is equivalent to about two years of growth in the region.

Renewables subsidies fell by 35% in 2016-2019, ‘critical to back RE post COVID-19’

India cut the renewables subsidies by 35% between 2016 to 2019, latest research by Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) said, adding that following the pandemic, increase in support for renewables is critical. CEEW researchers point out that policy decisions such as solar safeguard duty and capping of tariffs suggested a slowdown in renewables capacity addition. Now is the time to rein-in subsidies for fossil fuels and support renewables, experts added. The research also said subsidies for oil and gas sectors increased by a huge 65% during the same period.  

IRENA: Renewables agency charts path to zero-carbon energy system by 2050

Governments can fully decarbonise the energy system by 2050, and boost the economy hit by the coronavirus pandemic, provided they use the stimulus packages to boost renewables, according to Global Renewables Outlook by Abu Dhabi-based International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). With governments offering massive recovery packages amid the pandemic, experts have called for “green recovery”. Campaigners, including 180 European politicians, companies and lawmakers have urged the EU to align its economic rescue measures with climate goals. The report suggests that policies between 2016 and 2050 will need to unlock a total of $110 trillion of investments to reduce energy-related CO2 emissions to 70% below today’s levels by mid-century, and $130 trillion to decarbonise fully. This would boost global GDP growth by 2.4% by 2050 compared with current plans, and quadruple jobs in the renewable energy sector to 42 million, more than offsetting job losses in the fossil fuel industry.

Andra Pradesh drafts policy to export renewables energy

Andhra Pradesh has become the first state to launch a renewables power export policy. The draft of the state energy department said the policy will enable the state to export power without obligation to discoms. Andhra Pradesh has proposed to construct 29 pumped hydro storage projects (PSP) with a capacity of 33,240 MW both on-river and off-river sites to convert renewable energy sources of wind and solar into round-the-clock power and attract investments.The state energy department has released a feasibility report that says that the estimated potential for PSP projects is 33,240 MW with investment of Rs 5 crore per MW.

Britain breaks record for coal-free power generation

For 18 days at a stretch, Great Britain ran on clean energy, that’s the longest time country went without coal-fired power generation since the industrial revolution. The 18-day stretch has broken the UK’s 4 June 2019 record, following a decline in the demand for electricity during the coronavirus lockdown and because of greater use of solar power. The UK set a new solar power record on 20 April:generated over 9.6GW of solar electricity for the first time. The lower overall demand for electricity means low-carbon energy sources are able to make up a greater proportion of the energy system than usual. This month National Grid said it may need to turn wind farms and some power plants off in order to avoid overloading the electricity grid. The new coal-free record comes almost three years after the grid first ran without coal power for 24 hours for the first time.

Wartsila: Share of renewable energy rose 43% in Europe & UK amid COVID-19

Amid the coronavirus crisis, Germany, Spain and Britain had to temporarily shut down coal power plants causing the share of renewables energy to rise quickly by 43%. Coronavirus has caused demand for electricity to fall across Europe, Wartsila the Finnish ship technology and power plant maker said. The analysts said the epidemic exposed the problems related to coal power, adding that coal-fired electricity production has to be run at full capacity all the time, it cannot be adjusted. Wartsila’s analysis showed coal-based power generation fell by 25.5% across the European Union and the United Kingdom in the first three months of 2020, and RE’s share reached 43% after the response to COVID-19.

All GM facilities in the US to run on renewables by 2023

Automaker giant General Motors said all its factories in southeast Michigan will run on clean and renewable energy in the next three years. GM has purchased 500 GW hours of solar energy from DTE Energy’s MIGreenPower program. DTE said GM’s investment will provide nearly 1,500 clean energy jobs in Michigan during project construction. The renewable power will be enough to run GM’s Southeast Michigan facilities by 2023, GM said. That includes its global headquarters in the Renaissance Center in Detroit, the technical center in Warren, the facility in Milford and two assembly plants, Orion and Detroit-Hamtramck.

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