Doubling renewables lower cost than conventional equivalent: IRENA.

FT: “The world could provide energy at a lower cost by doubling the share that comes from renewables sources such as wind and solar power, according to the international agency for supporting those technologies.”
“The Abu Dhabi-based International Renewable Energy Agency, which is backed by 170 governments, will present an analysis to the UN in New York on Thursday showing the share provided by renewable energy could double by 2030 if governments put in place policies to promote it.
That implies a greater potential for rapid growth in renewables than most other estimates have suggested.
Irena said its assessment was the most detailed such study ever conducted, and showed that the share of global energy derived from renewables could rise from about 18 per cent today to 36 per cent in 2030.
It added that the increase could be achieved using today’s technology, and globally would have a lower cost than using fossil fuels, because of benefits to health and the environment from cutting pollution.
The calculated savings depend on assigning a value to cuts in carbon dioxide emissions, because of their contribution to global warming, but Irena calculates that the shift would save money even at a price of $20 per tonne of those emissions, a lower figure than is used in many long-term projections.
….Other forecasters have taken more cautious views. The International Energy Agency, the watchdog backed by rich countries’ governments, said last year that even given global policies designed to meet international commitments to curb global warming, renewables might be only 23 per cent of global energy in 2035.
The scale of the change suggested by Irena would be even more dramatic than the doubled share suggests, because about half today’s “renewable” energy comes from what is known as “traditional biomass”, including firewood and animal dung, which causes severe health problems.
Irena believes traditional biomass could be eliminated by 2030, meaning that modern renewables such as wind, solar, hydro power and advanced biofuels would have to quadruple their contribution from 9 to 36 per cent.
The shift would require investment in renewable energy to double, from about $224bn in 2013 to an average of $460bn per year. It would also need subsidies for renewables totalling $315bn per year in 2030, according to Irena’s calculations.
However, that is less than the present level of subsidies for fossil fuel consumption, which was $544bn in 2012, mostly for consumers in low and middle-income countries.”