Costs of variable renewables, especially solar PV and land-based wind, have fallen dramatically in recent years. The cost-effectiveness of renewable options has improved due to a combination of sustained technological progress, including major efficiency and productivity gains, expansion into newer markets with better resources, and better financing conditions, often supported by market frameworks based on price competition for long-term power purchase agreements.
However, dependence on large shares of renewables implies a paradigm shift for energy security in general, and electricity security more specifically. The classical risks associated with fossil fuels (geopolitics, upstream investment and infrastructure) are replaced by risks relating to the availability of natural resources such as water, biomass, wind and sunlight. Looking ahead, system integration will become a key factor in ensuring that variable renewable uptake has a positive effect on energy security.
20 January 2017