Renewable energy is disrupting electricity markets worldwide. The pace of this change has surprised almost everyone, and indeed would have been difficult to imagine just a few years ago.
Crucially, renewables need only capture a relatively small market share for disruption to occur, and to continue. While it may take decades yet for renewables to become the dominant form of generation globally, their presence today is permanent and their advance inevitable.
By way of recent example, in 2016 Germany—the fourth-largest economy globally—saw two of its biggest companies, the power utilities E.ON and RWE, voluntarily break themselves up. Those moves came in response to a transformation that is reshaping the power-generation sector almost everywhere and wreaking havoc among utilities that have arrived late to this conversion.
Germany is of special significance since the nation pioneered Energiewende, a policy shift toward a low-carbon economy that is now being adopted globally.
From Europe to Asia, from the Americas to Africa, wholesale electricity prices are being pushed down by the rise of renewable generation, which has no fuel costs and whose developers can now consistently outbid fossil fuel-based generation.
This report documents the gathering momentum of this trend, and how the impact of renewables on electricity prices is a key driver of this change