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The Economic Competitiveness of Renewable Energy: Pathways to 100% Global Coverage

ISBN: 978-1-118-23790-8
264 pages
June 2014
The Economic Competitiveness of Renewable Energy: Pathways to 100% Global Coverage (1118237900) cover image


The world is at the crossroads of either quickly changing the energy picture towards implementing efficient renewable energy sources or postponing this process by another generation.  Based on the author's more than 30 years industrial experience, this book gives a set of assumptions by extrapolating known technology developments and shows that 100% coverage by renewable technology of the global energy needs is much more probable than previously argued.
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Table of Contents

Foreword xiii

Preface xvii

Acknowledgements xxiii

List of Abbreviations xxv

1 Introduction 1

1.1 The Changing World 1

1.2 Why Another Book on 100% Renewables? 3

2 Analysis of Today’s Energy Situation 7

2.1 Basic Energy Terms 7

2.2 Global Energy Situation 11

2.3 Energy Sectors 13

2.4 Challenges for Fossil Fuels 16

2.5 Problems with Nuclear Energy 29

3 The Importance of Energy Efficiency Measures 33

3.1 Traditional Extrapolation of Future Energy Demands or Alternatively “The Same or with Renewables Even Better Quality of Life with Much Less Energy” 33

3.2 Decrease in End Energy Needs with a “Better Quality of Life” 35

3.3 Today’s Energy Needs with Known Energy Efficiency Measures 41

3.4 Support Mechanisms to Facilitate New Products: Ban The Old or Facilitate The New Ones 42

4 Overview of the Most Important Renewable Energy Technologies 45

4.1 Basics About the Potential of Various Renewable Technologies 45

4.2 Wind Energy 48

4.3 Solar Thermal Collectors and Concentrators 57

4.4 Bioenergy: Biomass and Fuel 66

4.5 Photovoltaics 68

4.6 Other Renewable Technologies 70

5 PV Market Development 77

5.1 Strategic and Consumer Goods in Society and Why Strategic Ones Need Initial Support 77

5.2 PV Applications and History 84

5.3 Historical PV Market Development 88

5.4 Feed-in Tariffs - Sustainable Versus Boom and Bust Market Growth 93

5.5 PV Market Development Towards 2020 101

5.6 Total Budget for Feed-in Tariff Support as Positive Investment for National Economies and Merit Order Effects for Electricity Customers 106

5.7 New Electricity Market Design for Increasing Numbers of Variable Renewable Energy Systems 110

5.8 Developments for the Future Energy Infrastructure 111

6 PV Value Chain and Technology 117

6.1 Basics of Solar Radiation and Conversion in PV Cells 117

6.2 Value Chain for Crystalline Silicon PV Systems 122

6.3 Value Chain for Thin-Film Technologies 134

6.4 Concentrated PV (CPV) and III?V Compound Solar Cells 137

6.5 New Technologies (Dye, OPV, and Novel Concepts) 138

6.6 Other Cost Components for PV Systems 141

6.7 Marimekko Plot for PV Systems and Summary Chart for Cell Efficiencies 142

7 The Astonishing Predictive Power of Price Experience Curves 147

7.1 Basics about Price Experience Curves 147

7.2 Relevant Price Experience Curves Comparable to PV 148

7.3 Lesson Learned from PECs Discussed 151

7.4 Price Experience Curve for PV Modules 152

7.5 Price Experience Curve for DC/AC inverters 159

7.6 Price Experience Curve for Wind Energy and Other Relevant Products for a 100% Renewable World 161

8 Future Technology Development 163

8.1 General Remarks on Future Technology Developments 163

8.2 Photovoltaics 164

8.3 Wind Energy 170

8.4 Solar Thermal 171

8.5 Other Renewables 171

8.6 Other System Components 171

8.7 Importance of the Renewable Energy Portfolio - in Particular Solar and Wind 175

9 Future Energy Projections - The 150 Peta-Watt-hour Challenge 179

9.1 Historical Development 179

9.2 Some Future Projections and Scenarios by Others 180

9.3 Global Energy Scenarios and Market Development of the Major Renewables from the Author’s Point of View 186

10 Likelihood of and Timeline for a World Powered by 100% Renewable Energy 203

10.1 Likelihood of a 100% Renewable World 203

10.2 Global Network or Local Autonomy? 205

10.3 Timeline for a 100% Renewable World 209

11 Conclusion: The 100% Renewable Energy Puzzle 213

References 219

Index 225

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Author Information

Winfried Hoffmann obtained his PhD in biophysics in 1977. From 1997 until 2014 he was a member of the Board of EPIA (European PV Industry Association) and President for more than eight years. He is a member of the Scientific Board of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy and the NEXT Institute in Oldenburg, as well as a member of the Supervisory Board of the Institute for Solar Energy Research in Hameln and the Helmholtz Centre Berlin. He acts as Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Solarfabrik AG and is a member of the Supervisory Board of SMA Solar Technology AG. In 2012 he received the “European Becquerel Prize for Outstanding Merits in PV” from the European Commission.

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