Conventional wisdom dictates that the push for green energy has been led by the developed world, but a new study from Bloomberg New Energy Finance suggests that it is the world’s up-and-coming economies that are leading the pack.
According to Bloomberg’s Climatescope 2014 (which evaluated 55 countries in Latin America, Asia, Africa and the Caribbean), the renewable energy capacity of developing nations grew by approximately 143 percent between 2008 and 2013. In the same survey period, the developed nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) grew their renewable capabilities by a smaller though still notable 84 percent.
The overall energy grid capacity of developing nations grew by 30 percent over this period, while Bloomberg notes that developed nations only saw their energy grid yield increase by 9.6 percent by comparison. Altogether, the 55 nations in the Climatescope 2014 report have installed a combined 142 gigawatts during the survey period of 2008 to 2013.
These findings seem to reinforce the conclusions of recent studies that indicate developing nations aren’t forced to choose between renewable energy and growth.
“Clean energy is the low-cost option in a lot of these countries,” Ethan Zindler of Bloomberg New Energy Finance told Bloomberg. “The technologies are cost-competitive right now. Not in the future, but right now.” Zindler went on to note that for many of these nations, solar or wind power is almost half the cost of wholesale fossil fuels per gigawatt.
This high cost of fossil fuels energy is largely attributable to a frequent reliance in developing nations on kerosene in heating diesel for electricity generation. In the 55 nations covered in Climatescope 2014, the average price of fossil fuel was $147.90 per megawatt hour. By comparison, the “leveled average” global cost for wind energy is $82 per megawatt hour, and $142 for solar.