IEA: net growth in renewables worldwide as Total invests in Nigerian solar

IEA: net growth in renewables worldwide as Total invests in Nigerian solar

Giacomo Maniscalco
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The International Energy Agency forecasts global electricity output from renewables of 825 gW by 2021 as the French energy company invests in the development of the African nation's solar and gas resources

According to the IEA’s Medium Term Renewable Market Report (MTRMR), the agency is predicting a 13% increase in global renewable energy production over the next 5 years. Specifically the report indicates a 42% increase in power capacity from renewable energy, that is, 825 GW, between 2015 and 2021. The forecast confirms a trend that has seen the clean energy sector outpace coal in terms of installed capacity, contributing 50% of new energy output globally. The agency attributes the acceleration in the green revolution to steadily dropping production costs. During the last year, long-term remuneration prices onshore wind and solar PV plants reached record lows and, according the report, costs are set to decrease by an additional 15% and 25% respectively by 202. However, the real drivers have largely been new policies by the governments of the United States, China India and Mexico, which have set a model roadmap for the development of renewables. "I am pleased to see that last year was one of records for renewables and that our projections for growth over the next 5 years are more optimistic," said Fatih Birol, the IEA’s executive director in a recent statement. "However, even these higher expectations remain modest compared with the huge untapped potential of renewables."
Meanwhile, the French petroleum giant Total is looking to Africa to invest in renewables, undertaking projects to build solar plants in Nigeria. Through its Nigerian branch Total E & P Nigeria Ltd (TEPNG), on 18 October, the company also began supplying natural gas to the Alaoji plant in Nigeria’s Abia State, delivered by the Northern Option Pipeline (NOPL). The announcement was made by the Nigerian branch’s Managing Director Nicolas Terraz in an article entitled "Harnessing natural gas: new opportunities for Nigeria," presented at a gas industry forum hosted by the Nigerian Gas Association (NGA) in Abuja. The investment consolidates the French company’s commitment to energy diversification following its recent acquisition of a majority stake (60%) in the US-based SunPower, one of the world’s foremost suppliers of solar panels. In any case, according to Terraz, most of Nigeria’s electricity will continue to be generated from gas-powered plants, and, as a stakeholder in the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Company (NLNG), Total supports the building of Train 7, a gas pipeline that would significantly increase exports of Nigerian LNG. He also stressed his faith in Nigeria’s future, stating that Total will continue to invest in the country in spite of challenges still impeding the sector’s growth.