With a history of “vastly underestimating renewables growth,” the International Energy Agency’s calculations of solar and wind capacity “are not a reliable basis for projecting the world’s future power generation mix,” analyst Adam Whitmore wrote on The Energy Collective earlier this week.
Whitmore compares the projections in the 2013 and 2014 editions of the IEA’s World Energy Outlook against the actual growth of solar and wind, along with short-term projections from Bloomberg as of February 2015. “The historic and short-term forecast data show a clear and strong upward trend in the rate of capacity installation for both technologies,” he writes, despite “policy-driven volatility” for wind. “The IEA’s projections show a sharp reversal of this trend, with net installation rates falling to well below current levels, and staying there or falling further for the next two and a half decades.”
Overall, the IEA projects reductions in annual installations of 40% for wind and nearly 50% for solar, compared to activity projected for 2015, despite growing interest in greenhouse gas reductions and energy security and plummeting prices for renewables.
“It may well be that renewables installation rates begin to grow more slowly and even eventually plateau as markets mature,” Whitmore writes. “But a sudden fall by around a third or a half of current levels sustained into the long term seems to run against the main prevailing drivers.”