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Telegraph’s Latest Renewable Puff Piece

October 13, 2020

By Paul Homewood



h/t Patsy Lacey


Yet another renewable energy puff piece from the Telegraph!



It’s behind a paywall as usual, but Reuters also cover the story:

Solar output is expected to lead a surge in renewable power supply in the next decade, the International Energy Agency said, with renewables seen accounting for 80% of growth in global electricity generation under current conditions.

In its annual World Energy Outlook on Tuesday, the IEA said in its central scenario – which reflects policy intentions and targets already announced – renewables are expected to overtake coal as the primary means of producing electricity by 2025.

The combined share of solar photovoltaic (PV) and wind in global generation will rise to almost 30% in 2030 from 8% in 2019, it said, with solar PV capacity growing by an average 12% a year.

"I see solar becoming the new king of the world’s electricity markets," IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said. "Based on today’s policy settings, it is on track to set new records for deployment every year after 2022."

Maturing technology and support mechanisms have cut financing costs for major solar PV projects, the IEA said, helping to bring down output costs overall. Solar PV is now cheaper than new coal- or gas-fired power plants in most countries, it said.

Power generation from renewables is the only major source of energy that continued to grow in 2020, the Paris-based agency added.

A more ambitious scenario, including for instance the adoption of net-zero emissions targets by 2050, would see PV electricity generation perform more strongly still, the report said.

Despite the increase in solar and wind power, carbon emissions are projected to pick up in 2021 after a 2.4 gigatonne (Gt) drop in 2020, and to exceed 2019 levels in 2027 before growing to 36 Gt in 2030, it added.

The IEA said gaps remain in many cases between long-term ambitions and specific near-term plans to curb emissions.

Integrating new wind and solar power will depend on adequate investment in all parts of the system, including distribution networks, the report added.

But revenue shortfalls – potentially arising from lower-than-expected demand, non-payment of bills, or the detoriating finances of utilities in developing economies – could make power grids a weak link.


In reality solar power is still tiny in global terms, producing just 1% of the world’s energy, and there is little sign of this changing:




It is of course highly possible that the COVID crisis will dampen energy demand for years to come, putting the squeeze on investment in new generation projects.  As such, the tiny amounts of solar power likely to come forward may look bigger in relative terms.

As ever, the bellwether is China, where new build solar installations have been steadily declining since 2017, due partly to withdrawal of subsidies, but also because intermittent solar power is of little value.




So far this year, 11.1 GW of solar PV has been added, bringing total capacity up to 215 GW. Annualised, this would equate to an increase of about 10%. It is quite likely that China’s solar capacity could double by 2030, but this would still only enough to generate 6% of China’s power, even if demand remained the same as now.


It is a pity the Telegraph’s reporter did not have the gumption to point out any of these facts.

22 Comments leave one →
  1. MrGrimNasty permalink
    October 13, 2020 3:13 pm

    “…renewables seen accounting for 80% of growth in global electricity generation…”

    Have I read that the right way – they admit renewables cannot even take up all the growth in electricity demand, let alone replace existing demand?

    • Broadlands permalink
      October 13, 2020 5:36 pm

      In addition renewables (other than biofuels) cannot move billions of people and the goods and services we all need very far. And, to reach zero emissions biofuels will have to go since they are 90% fossil fuels. Not a well conceived plan.

  2. Phillip Bratby permalink
    October 13, 2020 4:12 pm

    Christopher Booker was the Telegraph’s last remaining investigative journalist. All they have today is people who have been taught how to cut and paste (and anybody can do that, as we can all see).

  3. October 13, 2020 4:20 pm

    Oil is produced constantly under heat & pressure within the Earth. It’s not a fossil fuel at all.
    Book: Oil, The 4th Renewable Resource, by Shawn Alli.

    Well written, referenced, bibliography & indexed.

    John Doran.

    • MrGrimNasty permalink
      October 13, 2020 4:50 pm

      No one seriously interested in climate/energy will be unfamiliar with the very long-standing abiogenic theory for the origin of oil/gas, but it remains controversial. And it really isn’t relevant if it’s classified as fossil fuel or not, using it still results in CO2.

      • October 14, 2020 4:32 pm

        CO2 is plant food & the basis of all life on Earth.
        the latest science shows CO2 has a very faint cooling effect via convection. This is unrefuted as yet.
        Co-founded by climatologist Dr. Tim Ball & book The Sky Dragon Slayers Victory Lap.

    • Jackington permalink
      October 13, 2020 5:25 pm

      Easy reading and interesting – thanks John

  4. Sobaken permalink
    October 13, 2020 4:48 pm

    Only the full detailed World Energy Outlook itself is behind paywall, the abridged summary report with all the interesting graphs they let you view for free on their website.

  5. Nancy & John Hultquist permalink
    October 13, 2020 5:12 pm

    Ed Clowes appears to be the cut&paste person. Useless sort.
    IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol is saying “I see solar becoming the new king of the world’s electricity markets,
    He is a Turkish economist and energy expert, so claimed.

    He is only 62, but overweight, so there is maybe a 50-50 chance he will live long enough to see his “king of” prediction fail.

    These folks just make carp up.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      October 13, 2020 6:00 pm

      Now there, is the problem: “I see solar becoming the new king of the world’s electricity markets, ” – they only see power as a market, not as a key utility that everyone has to depend on for their very lives. But, methinks, some people would be happy to trade lives for their market share.

  6. Tommy Stewart permalink
    October 13, 2020 5:14 pm

    In the Daily Telegraph the wind , power and wood chip electricity articles are ridiculed by 95% of those commenting but often comments are not allowed — when I tried to post a comment that readers insist in some articles actually telling the truth by emailing it was consistently rejected. There often more than one article a day, sometimes plain advertising, but none set out the truth. The government are probably worse.

  7. Gerry, England permalink
    October 13, 2020 5:39 pm

    ‘Integrating new wind and solar power will depend on adequate investment in all parts of the system, including distribution networks, the report added.’

    Translates as adding all this intermittant, low level crap generation requires spending a lot more of your money to fix all the problems that we don’t have but this will create. Ask South Australia about how that plays out.

  8. October 13, 2020 8:37 pm

    Where do they intend to dump all the dead panels after their short working life?

  9. permalink
    October 13, 2020 9:51 pm

    Came across this Schellenburger presentation on YouTube today – very logical demolition of Renewables – Something that Boris and his fellow politicians need to see before they embarrass themselves again and again.

  10. dennisambler permalink
    October 13, 2020 11:03 pm

    A slightly different story from California:

  11. Bloke back down the pub permalink
    October 14, 2020 11:48 am

    Paul, have you seen this Telegraph article , paywalled as usual. RSPB may have discovered that wind farms kill sea birds, who knew?

  12. October 14, 2020 12:34 pm

    Remember the Earth Day rally in Planet of the Humans – audience being told it was powered by solar panels?. The investigator was told by the man behind the scenes that the array of solar panels could just about run a toaster. The stage lights, sound etc. was actually all powered by diesel.

  13. Coeur de Lion permalink
    October 15, 2020 9:44 am

    No mention here, unless I’m wrong, of biomass. And I mean the contribution to world energy from the destruction of habitats by poverty stricken peoples with no electricity. It’s shameful that the World Bank, Greta Thunberg, the Church of England and our own Griff don’t take this on as a campaign.

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