Renewable Energy Is Breaking Through

According to Michael Liebreich, chairperson of the advisory board for Bloomberg New Energy Finance, $330bn has been invested in renewable energy after the drop in oil and gas prices.

Liebreich took part in a discussion on global energy trends which is taking place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. He stated that in Mexico, an Italian power company, Enel, had bid a price of 3.6 US cents per kilowatt-hour, decreasing the cost of solar energy, and in Morocco, wind energy also decreased below 3c/kWh in an auction. Liebreich, who is currently in South Africa during Africa Utility Week said that African countries are fully able to attract investment in clean energy, despite the unstable commodity price and credit ratings downgrades.

“But that too will pass,” he said, urging African governments to put in an effort to ensure the creditworthiness of their energy utilities. Energy expert and professor at the University of Cape Town’s management programme in infrastructure reform and regulation, Anton Eberhard, concluded the discussion by saying that business models for electricity generation which have worked for centuries are now being challenged.

Eberhard said, “Renewable energy is breaking through in a way traditional power utilities cannot ignore any longer.” “Due to their variability, renewables are not suitable for base load generation”, he added, but they "are becoming cheaper and we’ll have to maximise their contribution to the grid”.