Renewable Energy Industry Developments Generating a Brighter Future

The Asia Pacific renewable energy Industry size was estimated at USD 0.46 Trillion in 2023 and is expected to surpass around USD 2.28 Trillion by 2033 and poised to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17.42% during the forecast period 2024 to 2033. Renewables set for a variable-speed takeoff as historic investment, competitiveness, and demand propel their development, while also exacerbating grid, supply chain, and workforce challenges.

In a bifurcated renewable landscape, the solar Industry brightened in 2023, while wind faced sweeping challenges. The latter bore the brunt of project inputs, labor and capital cost pressures, interconnection and permitting delays, and transmission limitations. Meanwhile, supply chain constraints started easing as historic clean energy and climate laws took effect.

In the United States, utility-scale solar capacity additions outpaced additions from other generation sources between January and August 2023—reaching almost 9 gigawatts (GW), up 36% for the same period in 2022—while small-scale solar generation grew by 20%.1 Only 2.8 GW of wind capacity came online during the same period, down 57% from last year, resulting in renewables accounting for just over half of capacity added versus two-thirds last year.2 However, renewable energy's share of US electricity generation remained level at 22%.3 By the end of 2023, the US Energy Information Administration expects utility-scale solar installations to more than double compared to 2022, to a record-breaking 24 GW, and wind capacity to rise by 8 GW.4

Renewables as a resilience strategy: Amid widespread misperceptions, renewables can save the day

As the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, outages, and potential electricity supply shortages rise, renewables have often outshined conventional power sources, generating electricity when the latter could not. Renewables are increasingly becoming a resilience strategy, especially when coupled with storage. This reality does not match with perception, however. More respondents of the Deloitte 2023 power and utilities industry survey were concerned about the resilience of renewables than supply chain challenges and the interconnection queue. Most survey respondents believe that gas, followed by nuclear power, is the most resilient to extreme weather events in their territory, while renewables ranked the lowest

But, in contrast to the surveyed respondents' perception, experience with a record number of extreme weather events and outages over the past year shows that gas poses greater reliability challenges than renewables. For instance, during Winter Storm Elliott, unplanned generation outages reached a record 90.5 GW across the Eastern Interconnection, mainly driven by natural gas infrastructure reliability issues.118 The impact on the Pennsylvania-New Jersey-Maryland Interconnection (PJM) was especially striking given the grid's historical reliability, familiarity with cold weather, and location atop shale gas basins that directly supply many power plants. A fifth of gas plants, including new ones, failed to ramp up to half capacity during the grid's two emergency calls due to a range of malfunctions across the system, from mechanical problems to frozen transmitters, valves and wells, pipe pressure issues, compressor stations failures, and supply scheduling gaps.119 Gas accounts for 46% of PJM capacity, but drove 70% of forced outages.120 Shifting seasons and states, in the summer, thermal plant outages unexpectedly went above the 11,000 MW red line, which, according to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), could put its grid at risk.121

Nuclear also faces increasing reliability concerns as warmer and lower water levels caused by climate change impact operations. Over the past summer—a season when nuclear is most needed to meet power demand—a hot weather alert factored into a shutdown of the nuclear Vogtle plant reactor in July.122 Another nuclear plant shut down later in the summer due to coolant leakage, contributing to a total of 31 unplanned nuclear outages from January through October 2023 and a 25% rise in total nuclear capacity outages in the summer of 2023 versus that of 2022.123

Meanwhile, renewables paired with storage are taking on the role of gas peakers that can quickly respond to demand spikes and avoid blackouts. During Winter Storm Elliott, strong wind generation helped the Midcontinent Independent System Operator meet demand and continue exports despite 49 GW of forced outages.124 When Texas experienced 10 demand records this summer, batteries discharging in the evening played a key role in avoiding blackouts, while solar and wind generation covered more than a third of demand load in ERCOT during the day and helped prevent power price spikes.125 As a result, ERCOT included storage for the first time as a resource able to meet high net load in its fall Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy for fall 2023.126 Similarly, renewables contributed to a fifth of generation during a heatwave that drove record loads in the Southwest Power Pool.127

Green Energy: The present and future of electricity

Renewable energies are energy sources that naturally regenerate over time and do not run out. They are the most important part of the transition to an energy system that moves away from fossil fuels, thus countering global warming. And they are clean energies that safeguard human health and the environment.

The main sources of renewable energy are:

  • solar energy;

  • wind energy;

  • hydropower;

  • geothermal energy;

  • biomass energy;

  • marine energy.

All countries in the world share the same need to produce increasingly more renewable energy and to abandon conventional sources. According to data from the latest International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) report, in 2022 as much as 83 percent of all electricity capacity added lo was from renewable sources. While in 2021, according to a report published by the independent climate think tank Ember, renewables generated 38 percent of the world's electricity.

Renewables are destined to become the most advantageous source of electricity for the planet and for economic development. Because renewable energy, when produced thanks to an integrated vision that spans the entire value chain - from the production site to the suppliers - and with a commitment to mitigating the impacts on local areas and communities, ends up being truly, totally sustainable. Creating shared value, a circular economy approach and commitment to the UN's Sustainable Development Goals are the ways renewables reinforce their answer to the one important question: what will be the energy of the future?

The global renewable energy Industry size was estimated at USD 1.14 trillion in 2023 and is projected to hit around USD 5.62 Trillion by 2033, growing at a CAGR of 17.3% during the forecast period from 2024 to 2033.

Key Takeaways:

  • Asia Pacific accounted for a significant revenue share of 40.98% in 2023.

  • The Industry in North America is expected to grow at a significant pace over the forecast period.

  • The solar power segment accounted for the largest Industry share of 41% in 2023

  • Hydropower segment accounted for a significant revenue share of 18% in 2023.

  • Wind power and bioenergy segments are also expected to increase steadily over the forecast period

  • The industrial segment led the Industry in 2023 and accounted for a revenue share of 71%.

  • The expansion of solar PV panels facility in residential applications is expected to increase product demand over forecast period.

Growth Factors

There are various renewable sources of energy such as wind, hydropower, solar, geothermal, and bioenergy. It is estimated that around 7% of the global energy demand is fulfilled by the renewable energy sources, currently. This share is expected to increase significantly in the forthcoming future. The rising awareness regarding the harmful effects of the fossil fuels on the environment, rising government initiatives to promote the adoption of clean and green energy, rising public and private efforts to curb carbon emission, and growing adoption of the green energy among the consumers are the major factors that are expected to foster the growth of the global renewable energy Industry. The rising industrialization and urbanization in the developing countries across the globe is expected to drive the demand for the various renewable energy sources like geothermal energy and solar energy during the forecast period.

The increasing developments in the technology are resulting in the decline costs of the renewable energy and the increasing competitiveness of the battery storage systems is positively impacting the growth of the renewable energy Industry. The rising concerns related to the climate change and ESG concerns all over the globe is attracting huge investments towards the adoption of the renewable energy sources. The government in various developed and developing economies is offering subsidies to the corporate sector to shift towards the clean and green energy in order to promote sustainability and preserve the environment. These factors are prominent in the growth of the renewable energy Industry across the globe.

Product Insights

The solar power segment accounted for the largest Industry share of 41% in 2023, and is expected to grow at a significant rate over the forecast period. It is low cost, offers a home or business ‘green label', and reduces electricity interruptions. Grid electricity has a lot of power outages and even hydroelectric power is prone to power outages during transmission; however, solar systems are more efficient when it comes to transmissions. Hydropower segment accounted for a significant revenue share of 18% in 2023.

Hydropower, also known as hydroelectric power, offers advantages to communities and plays a crucial role in helping climate change by providing storage, power, and flexibility services. Wind power and bioenergy segments are also expected to increase steadily over the forecast period as traditional energy sources get replaced by renewable energy. As of 2020, China leads with wind energy with an installed capacity of 221 GW followed by the U.S. with 96.4 GW, Germany with 59.3, India with 35 GW, and Spain with 23 GW.

These factors combined with environmental concerns regarding the use of fossil fuels are expected to drive the demand for wind energy over the forecast period. Geothermal energy is renewable energy derived from the earth's heat and can be harnessed as a source of renewable electricity and for cooling & heating applications. The U.S. leads the world's geothermal energy capacity with 3.7 GW. Furthermore, the largest geothermal plant in the world is located in California, and with strong industry adoption, geothermal energy is expected to meet 10% of the U.S. electricity demand in the near future. These factors are expected to drive Industry demand over the forecast period.

Application Insights

Based on application, the Industry is further divided into industrial, commercial, and residential segments. The industrial segment led the Industry in 2023 and accounted for a revenue share of 71%. The growing demand for clean electricity is expected to increase the number of utility projects and fuel PV modules Industry growth across industrial sector. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, there are over 37 GW of power plants in operation in the U.S. as of 2020, with an additional 112 GW in development. These factors are expected to drive demand for solar PV panels in industrial application segment over the forecast period.

The expansion of solar PV panels facility in residential applications is expected to increase product demand over forecast period. In July 2023, Bakersfield Refinery Solar PV Park announced the installation of a solar PV power project with a capacity of 10MW. It is set to take place in California and will be built in a single step. It is anticipated to begin in 2023, with commercial operations beginning in 2024. Commercial solar PV panels have a lifespan of over 15-20 years and can be used to power industrial buildings in off-grid or remote locations, pre-heating ventilation air, and water heating in offices, businesses, etc. the rapid adoption of PV modules in corporate offices, hotels, and hospitals is expected to drive product demand across the commercial sector coupled with increased power demand in communication base stations and data centers.

Key Renewable Energy Companies: Acconia S.A.; General Electric; Enel Spa; Tata Power; Innergex; Suzlon Energy Ltd.; Invenergy; ABB; Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, S.A.; Xcel Energy, Inc.; Schneider Electric

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