• Five key components are driving the renewable energy sector with irreversible momentum, report finds.
  • Regulatory environment helping to promote increased use of renewable energy sources

Low natural gas and electricity prices have created a tough competitive environment for renewable energy, but this has remarkably had little impact on the momentum of alternative energy growth, finds a new Deloitte report entitled, “Alternative Thinking 2016: Five game-changers that are powering the future of renewable energy.

The report identifies the important trends and opportunities in the renewable energy industry. It also presents “what if” scenarios that may propel the renewable power sector forward, outpacing current projections.

“Alternative energy is at a tipping point,” said Salam Awawdeh, Partner and Middle East Energy & Resources Leader at Deloitte in the Middle East. “The growth we have seen over the past few years since we last published the report is now ready to be propelled forward as a result of these game-changers. Especially in the Middle East, Solar friendly policies across all parts of the solar value chain (investors, solar developers, construction contractors and technology manufacturers) have contributed enormously to  solar industry growth in many jurisdictions; Jordan, UAE and Egypt amongst others.

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Enthusiastic effort is invested in realignment of relevant energy strategies as many were considered when Brent crude exceeded $105 per barrel, and  emphasis was put on the lower cost-recovery tariffs guaranteed by technologies such as renewables, oil shale or nuclear. The large drop in oil prices, if sustained, would considerably reduce generation investment cost recovery. And a spell over effect, it may reduce the opportunity cost of switching away from traditional fossil fuels, and make some technologies almost cost-comparable to traditional ones ― at least in the short term.”

According to the report, the convergence of forces driving renewable energy forward has created a momentum that is likely irreversible for the industry. These five game-changers include:

Regulatory reform and public policy support: Far-reaching regulations at global, national and local levels are driving increased adoption of renewable energy. This includes the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference as well as adoption of state and provincial regulations to protect the environment.

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Corporate commitment: A significant number of large global companies have launched a movement to generate all of their energy from renewables in the next two decades. In the U.S. alone, 58 leading multinational corporations have signed on to the Renewable Energy Buyers’ Principles1, an initiative that aims to make renewable energy easier for companies to procure at a large scale.

Financing innovation: Investors now understand renewables as an asset class and are more confident in investing in them, while new financing vehicles have lowered the cost of capital and improved access to it. Giving companies the opportunity to reduce their tax burdens bolsters the trend of corporations investing in renewables by making the overall financial proposition even more attractive.

Energy storage: Energy storage technology is advancing and making renewable energy more viable by eliminating the issue of intermittency.

Grid integration: Once the nemesis of utilities, a host of new technologies are quickly making integration of intermittent power sources into the electricity grid a problem of the past. With the capability to manage electricity flows in different directions, the system operators have the ability to manage production and supply in real-time.

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Though the traditional barriers of cost, intermittency, and grid integration are still present, they are not seen as deal-breakers in the long run, according to the report.

“Growing pains are inevitable, but they are surmountable for renewable energy,” Awawdeh added. ”First-movers such as Denmark, Germany, China, the UK, the US and Spain have addressed them, and the results of recent regulatory initiatives suggest that many other nations now believe it is necessary to do so. This indicates that perhaps alternative energy has not just entered the mainstream, but is quickly becoming the norm itself.”

To view the whole report, go to:

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