Wind Energy in the 21st Century: Economics, Policy, Technology and the Changing Electricity Industry

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Rating details. All Languages. More filters. Sort order. Francesco rated it it was ok Jun 28, Nigel Fellman marked it as to-read May 27, There are no discussion topics on this book yet. About Robert Y. Robert Y. Trivia About Wind Energy in th No trivia or quizzes yet. Welcome back. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. Fuel cells are modular in nature, and their efficiency is largely independent of size. Consequently, they can be well matched to biomass power plants. Mid-term developments of biopower can be anticipated in two primary directions: biomass gasification to enable widespread IGCC implementation; and improvements in lifetime and unit costs of fuel cells.

In parallel, lower-cost high-temperature materials for both steam engines and gas turbines are potential. In all cases, such advances would also benefit fossil-fuel-fired power plants, and substantial technology leveraging from those industries for biomass use may be possible, although some of the unique characteristics of biomass may not enable direct transfer between industries. It is noteworthy that biomass is generally more reactive than coal and hence easier to gasify Williams and Larson, Furthermore, the lower sulfur content of biomass renders the produced gases more amenable to use in a fuel cell.

Both molten carbonate and solid oxide fuel cells can efficiently use the fuel mixture derived from biomass gasification. Potential long-term breakthroughs in biopower lie in two distinct areas.

BBC - Future - The biggest energy challenges facing humanity

The first, and perhaps more tractable, is in advanced biological methods for converting raw biomass into clean fuels. Essentially, the high-temperature catalytic steps of gasification, or pyrolysis, are replaced by ambient-temperature steps through the use of bacteria. Here, natural consortia of bacteria decompose organic matter into methane in the absence of oxygen in closed reactors. This process, anaerobic digestion, is similar to the natural decomposition of waste in landfills, from which methane can also be harvested. Many farm- and community-based systems particularly in Germany, Denmark, and several developing countries, but also in the United States already use anaerobic digestion to produce biogas from wastes such as manure, food, and other organics.

The biogas is then used in an internal combustion engine to produce electricity or is used directly for heating and cooking. Although much of the biomass resource might be dedicated to biofuel production thus diminishing its role in electricity generation , biogas technologies could provide a small but nontrivial part of a renewable electricity portfolio, particularly given their flexibility and potential for distributed generation. The second, more speculative potential breakthrough is in bioengineering new plants to radically enhance the efficiency of photosynthesis. Thus, solar-to-electric energy conversion efficiency is on the order of 0.

It is unclear, however, whether agricultural practices using bioengineered plants would be sustainable, even if photosynthesis could be enhanced through genetic modification. A complete evaluation of these uncertainties is beyond the scope of this analysis.


  1. Electricity Market Design and Price Signals for Renewables.
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In the absence of a program to grow dedicated energy crops, biomass from waste streams e. As stated in Chapter 2 , the long-term potential of biomass is limited by the low conversion efficiency of the photosynthesis process. In particular, conversion from raw biomass into syngas or other fuels renders biomass attractive for transportation applications, and competition between the two end uses must be considered.

Indeed, the DOE has essentially stopped its biopower programs in favor of biofuels for transportation Beaudry-Losique, However, this priority may once again shift if there is a move toward electrified transportation systems e. There are a host of technologies, operational modifications, and system upgrades that could enhance renewable energy resource use.

New technologies and tools would be required to enable reliable transmission and integration of large-scale renewables, in addition to expanding transmission capacity to connect new renewables to the grid. These include technologies that support the transmission grid by adding reactive power and enabling low-voltage ride-through; advanced transmission planning for integrating intermittent generation; methods of determining supply capacity and reserve requirements for high wind power penetrations; and methods and tools for accommodating high penetrations of wind generation.

Integrating high levels of distributed solar PV. Integrating large amounts of PV also would require planning models that address PV deployment under two scenarios, existing distribution systems and possible future distribution systems. Efficient and cost-effective storage of electrical energy would have a significant impact on the U. Storage requirements depend on where the storage occurs, the mix of renewables deployed, the temporal correlation of generation sources, and other features such as demand-management capabilities or vehicle-to-grid storage.


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  • Electricity consumption varies over the course of the day, whereas coal, nuclear, and hydropower electricity plants are generally designed to provide baseload electricity at some optimal level of generation. Thus, neither baseload nor intermittent electricity generation technologies supply electricity in alignment with demand. Despite this mismatch, electricity systems in the United States are managed today with little or no storage; pumped hydropower storage, the largest storage medium, provides a capacity that is less than 3 percent of the total electricity generation capacity.

    To date, the mismatch between electricity supply and demand has been handled largely by ramping power output up and down. These plants produce electricity at a constant or slowly varying rate and tend to be lower-cost generation plants relative to other capacity available to the system. Large penetrations of renewable electricity from wind and solar, which are inherently intermittent, would exacerbate the challenges of load management.

    However, at moderate penetrations, up to at least 20 percent in the case of wind power, studies indicate that the existing management approaches suffice, and storage is not an immediate necessity for successful integration of renewable resources. These studies are discussed in Chapters 6 and 7. Storage technologies are differentiated in terms of the time and scale at which they are useful Figure 3. Rapid energy discharge, a feature that would be useful to maintain the quality of the electrical power supply, could some day be achieved with devices such as supercapacitors and high-power flywheels.

    More relevant to the integration of intermittent renewable technologies into the electrical grid are high-power systems that store energy for at least several hours. SMES, superconducting magnetic energy storage. Source: Developed from information in Gyuk and Rastler In addition, some renewable electricity generation technologies, solar thermal and biomass in particular, naturally provide storage solutions.

    Energy storage in the form of chemical fuels, including biomass and batteries, has direct implications for transportation and underscores the likelihood of increasing overlap between the electricity and transportation sectors in future years.

    Global Renewable Energy-Based Electricity Generation and Smart Grid System for Energy Security

    Energy storage via pumped hydropower involves the use of electrical energy to move water into an elevated hydropower reservoir by operating the generator as a motor and running the hydroturbine in reverse. When electricity is needed, the water in the upper reservoir is released through the turbine, which operates the motor as a generator to produce electricity. Pumped hydropower is a mature and effective technology that provides the only source of electricity storage today to buffer electricity demand and supply fluctuations.

    Further growth of pumped hydro is limited, however, because of the lack of environmentally acceptable sites, just as the further growth of hydroelectric power itself is limited. To put into perspective the scale of possible energy storage requirements to meet U. Providing 6 hours of electricity at that level of demand would require storage of 1. In a low-probability scenario assuming for this discussion that storage was needed to supply percent of peak electricity over a hour period , nearly 35 km 3 of water equivalent to the volume of Lake Mead would have to be pumped up meters and released.

    Pumped hydropower is a relatively low-energy-density storage solution, as demonstrated from another perspective. Hence, accounting for the density difference between gasoline and water, storing the energy contained in 1 gallon of gasoline would require pumping more than 50, gallons of water up the height of Hoover Dam. Compressed air energy storage CAES refers to the storage of energy as compressed air, usually in an underground air-tight cavern. Other options include storing the compressed air in depleted natural gas fields and aboveground storage tanks.

    Demonstrated CAES systems two exist in the world today; one is located in McIntosh, Alabama use a diabatic 32 storage process in which air is cooled before it enters the cavern and, upon increased electricity demand, is expanded using external heating in a modified gas turbine that, in turn, operates an electric generator.

    CAES allows less expensive nighttime electric energy to be stored and used to replace relatively more expensive, peaking daytime energy EPRI, b. CAES may reduce the need to build fossil-fired power plants that meet peak rather than average capacity, yet CAES storage must be operated in conjunction with combustion. Because diabatic CAES power plants share similarities with conventional, natural-gas-fired power plants, the two existing systems have operated together reliably since their commissioning, and the technology is considered mature.

    Overall, the storage capacity provided by these plants is small relative to total U. For example, the McIntosh plant in Alabama has a MW capacity, and the storage cavern allows for 26 hours of continuous operation at the rated power before significant drawdown occurs. The second CAES system, the Huntorf plant in Germany, operates jointly with a nuclear power plant, with the goal of managing the mismatch between the baseload power generation and the variable consumer demand.

    The storage capacity is smaller, but the discharge rate is higher. New approaches to diabatic compressed air storage are directed toward microscale systems that use smaller volumes and capitalize on underground natural gas storage or storage in depleted gas fields. Adiabatic CAES systems eliminate the need for combustion fuels by storing not only the mechanical energy of compression, but also the thermal energy. In diabatic storage the heat produced during the compression of air escapes to the atmosphere and is wasted, whereas in adiabatic storage the heat produced during compression is also stored.

    Electric power generation from such a system Figure 3. Adiabatic compressed air energy storage has not yet been demonstrated, but the majority of the components indicated in Figure 3. A concept study supported by the European Union outlines some of the technical challenges and concludes that they are linked largely to system integration and optimization, rather than to individual component development Bullough et al.

    Beyond the technical challenges of constructing and operating CAES power plants, it is of value to consider the storage volume geologic requirements for maintaining compressed air energy storage at a scale that would be significant compared to present-day electricity consumption. Given the density of air 1. Dividing this total by the. Though some CAES would be available in aboveground storage tanks, using CAES on a large scale would require extensive, if not immense, amounts of geologic storage.

    Battery technologies cover an enormous range of chemistries, including lead-acid, lithium ion, and sodium sulfur, and storage efficiencies range from 65 to 90 percent. These values depend not only on the particular chemistry but also on the details of the charge and discharge profile. Furthermore, as in the case of chemical fuel production, present-day activities in battery development and demonstration focus largely on the transportation sector, but with a growing recognition of the importance of utility-scale electricity storage.

    A battery is generally constructed with two reactive electrode materials separated by an electrolyte membrane that allows only selected ions to pass through it. During discharge, because of the presence of this separator membrane, the reac-. On reaching the second electrode, the ionic species reacts with the material of the second electrode and simultaneously either rejects or accepts electrons to regain its initial charge state. The ion current through the electrolyte is balanced by the electron current through an exterior circuit that draws the power.

    Depending on the nature of the reaction products that form at the electrodes, the battery may or may not be rechargeable. For rechargeable systems, application of a voltage induces the reserve reactions and regenerates the electrode materials. Rechargeable systems include lithium-ion, lead-acid, nickel-cadmium, and sodium-sulfur batteries. Among these, the sodium-sulfur batteries, because of the favorable balance between system complexity and overall efficiency, are usually considered for utility-scale applications.

    Lead-acid and nickel-cadmium batteries require the use of rather toxic metals, and lithiumion batteries are costly and have shown significant degradation on deep discharge. Flow batteries are alternatives to conventional batteries in which the electrode materials are consumed through the electrochemical reaction. In flow systems, the electrodes are inert, serving simply as current collectors, and the overall reaction takes place between two chemical solutions separated again by an electrolyte membrane see Figure 3.

    Flow batteries are similar to fuel cells. The key difference is the nature of the reactant species. Fuel cells use gases, supplying hydrogen to the anode and oxygen to the cathode Figure 3. As in either conventional batteries or fuel cells, the direct reaction between the chemical species in the anode and cathode chamber is prevented by the presence of the electrolyte. The flow of ions across the membrane is balanced by a flow of electrons through an exterior circuit, in turn providing power generation.

    Much like a fuel cell, the energy capacity of a flow battery is fixed by the storage volume of the reactant solution, and not by the dimensions of the electrodes, as is the case in a conventional battery. Like fuel cells, however, flow batteries are complex systems involving pumps, valves, the flow of corrosive fluids, and the requirement to regenerate the spent solution in a subsequent step.

    The separation between the energy storage and energy delivery functions in a flow battery makes a flow battery more useful to utility-scale storage than a conventional battery, but the system complexity renders flow batteries difficult for portable applications. It is unclear where and how fundamental breakthroughs can bring revolutionary advances in battery technologies. For energy storage, the energy density stored in gasoline is. A fuel cell is an electrolysis cell operated in reverse, and accordingly the anode and cathode functions are also reversed.

    Chemical energy storage refers to synthetic routes to producing fuels from energy resources. Depending on its nature, a fuel can subsequently be used for electricity production via fuel cells or used in conventional combustion systems. By far the simplest fuel to consider in this scenario is hydrogen, created according to the following reaction:. Regardless of how hydrogen is produced, the fuel must be stored, which is a daunting challenge. At any pressure, the volumetric energy density of methane, a fuel more familiar to the electricity industry, is more than three times greater than that of hydrogen stored at an equal pres-.

    With these caveats, it is nevertheless useful to consider methods of renewable hydrogen generation. If the energy input for splitting water is electricity, the reaction occurs simply by electrolysis. In the context of renewable electricity, generation is from solar, wind, or other renewable resources, and the electricity is then directed to a separate electrolysis cell.

    Small-scale electrolyzers are commercially available for the production of hydrogen for technical purposes. These systems require the use of platinum Pt at a quantity that can be estimated from the platinum used in state-of-the-art polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells, which essentially operate in reverse relative to electrolyzers. Storage for 46 GW average capacity amounting to 10 percent of the U. Because of the inverse relationship between electrolyzers and fuel cells, there has been some research on electrochemical cells that could operate in either mode, particularly in the case of high-temperature ceramic electrolyte systems.

    These dual attributes would be attractive, because costs would be reduced as a result of the multi-functionality of the electrochemical cell, and the high-temperature operation would obviate the need for precious metal catalysts. In direct photo-electrochemical production, a semiconductor material, immersed in water, absorbs light, exciting electron-hole pairs across the band gap of the semiconductor.

    These electronic species are then available to perform reduction and oxidation reactions at the electrodes of the cell. As with the ambient-temperature electrolysis cell, developing robust and efficient, non-precious-metal catalysts remains a daunting challenge for this approach. However, the recognition that biological systems carry out such reactions i. The DOE is attempting to increase investment in this area, reflecting the potential offered by recent advances in this approach e. Yet another alternative for hydrogen production is the thermochemical cycle.

    The process of cycling between these two states under appropriate gaseous atmospheres releases the desired reduced chemical fuel. The success of the thermochemical approach relies fundamentally on the chemical thermodynamics of oxide stability. Rapid reaction kinetics and strong coupling of the solar radiation to the material for effective heating are also essential. There are no commercial activities in thermochemical fuel production, but there are ongoing large-scale demonstration plants at Sandia National Laboratories and at ETH Zurich.

    Alternatives to hydrogen fuel production are under consideration, because converting renewable energy to hydrogen fuel merely transfers the energy storage problem to a different part of the energy delivery infrastructure. Alternatives typically employ biological processes to produce alcohols, alkanes, or other carbon-containing fuels, and can be considered advanced biomass approaches, such as production of biodiesel from algae. The few synthetic chemistry approaches that are being investigated center largely on electrochemical reduction of CO 2 to CO, whereby the combined carbon monoxide and hydrogen, or syngas, becomes the input in known industrial processes for the creation of a more suitable fuel.

    These approaches, still in the laboratory research stage, focus on chemical reaction pathways rather than potential scale-up to provide an energy solution. Because CO and H 2 are produced electrochemically, it is theoretically possible to react them further to generate methane, a fuel familiar to the electricity industry and thus likely to have more immediate impact than penetration of renewable electricity. Because natural-gas peaking plants are often co-sited with solar and wind farms, direct production of methane using the output of the combustion power.

    Analysis of the future for the various storage technologies is beyond the scope of this panel, but some summary statements are in order. In the near term, diabatic CAES and various battery technologies, especially sodium sulfur batteries, have found initial applications in the electricity sector. In the longer term, when penetrations of renewables in the electricity sector might reach levels requiring energy storage, there may be a variety of approaches, including adiabatic CAES or the use of renewable energy in the production of chemical fuels.

    Advances in ultracapacitors and other short-term storage solutions may provide additional mechanisms to effectively integrate and stabilize intermittent resources. Energy storage is a system resource that should be operated for the overall benefit of the system.

    The greatest value of energy storage is realized when it is operated for the benefit of the entire system, and not dedicated to balancing any particular resource on the system. Storage tied to smart transmission and distribution grids would become a valuable component of any power system, and could provide numerous benefits to the system.

    Storage benefits the system without renewables, and renewables benefit the system without storage. The task is to manage variability with flexibility. Most of these technologies are part of the broad initiative to improve the intelligence of the modern grid. The Smart Grid may be described as the overlaying of a unified electronic control system and two-way communication over the entire power delivery infrastructure.

    Smart Grid capabilities optimize power supply and delivery, minimize loss, and enable maximum use of electricity generation resources, energy efficiency, and demand responses. However, this term suffers from overuse and multiple interpre-. Demonstrations are under way in several U.

    Instantaneous electronic control of the grid would allow each transmission line to operate at a higher load factor without risking thermal overload than is now feasible on the electromechanically controlled transmission system. This level of coordinated control would require improved communications and seamless connectivity, or interoperability, 35 which would make the grid a dynamic, interactive infrastructure for the real-time exchange of power and information.

    Open connectivity architecture would create a plug-and-play environment that would securely network grid components and operators. The current lack of uniform interconnection and operations codes and standards, as well as the acceptance of standardized open communications architecture, is restricting the timely implementation of the modern grid. A system-wide integrated cyber security capability is also an important dimension of this communications architecture.

    While important, transmission is only one element of the nationwide grid modernization effort needed to realize the potential benefits of renewable energy. The electronic modernization of the local electricity distribution network is equally essential to incorporating distributed renewable energy technologies such as photovoltaics and wind power. One critical objective of smart distribution grids is to enable the. An earlier DOE plan was called Grid ; the intention was to have percent of electricity running through a smart grid by Seamless, end-to-end connectivity of the hardware and software throughout the transmission and distribution system to the electrical energy source.

    The result could help transform buildings into power plants and provide a more reliable, efficient, and clean electricity supply system. Advanced metering—the use of electricity meters that provide detailed consumption profiles—is one technology for improving the intelligence of the grid that would be particularly important to increasing the use of distributed renewables.

    Unlike conventional metering, advanced metering would couple the cost of electricity generation with the price to the consumer. In the context of renewables integration, the ability to do time-of-day pricing and net metering would better enable the deployment of renewables, especially solar PV. Such meters also could communicate real-time information to the consumer for billing and pricing purposes. Because solar PV generation peaks close to the late-afternoon price peak, meters allowing time-of-day pricing could improve the cost-competitiveness of solar PV at the consumer end. Advanced metering also helps to create incentives to use energy at off-peak times when possible, thereby reducing demands on the transmission and distribution systems.

    Chapter 4 discusses the use of real-time pricing to encourage the development of renewables. Furthermore, advanced metering technologies would enable net metering for those with on-site renewable generation. Net metering improves the integration into the grid of distributed renewable resources such as solar PV installed at residential and commercial facilities. It measures both the consumption of electricity and the excess energy produced on-site, and at least partly credits the consumer for excess generation produced by consumer-owned solar PV or other renewable electricity technologies.

    These grid operating tools. Better forecasting algorithms would allow better use of temporally varying resources such as wind energy. The objective of this work is to improve the forecasting of wind and its use in electricity markets Ahlstrom et al. The demand that some renewables place on ancillary services, such as reactive power and dynamic voltage control, also must be considered.

    Reactive power is the portion of electricity that establishes and maintains the electric and magnetic fields of alternating current AC equipment. Many early wind machines were induction generator wind turbines with a constant frequency and so required reactive power to be supplied from the grid. Although newer machines have solved this problem, voltage stability remains an issue. In particular, the ETSO study looked at the effects of variable power output on the electricity grid and the ability of various wind turbine types to provide system service needed for the stable operation of an electricity grid.

    Another study describes technologies used to provide reactive power for a large wind farm and the interactions of the wind farm, reactive power compensation, and the power system network Muljadi et al. Over the first timeframe through , wind, solar photovoltaics and con centrating solar power, conventional geothermal, and biopower technologies are technically ready for accelerated deployment.

    During this period, these technologies could potentially contribute a much greater share up to about an additional. Other technologies, including enhanced geothermal systems that mine the heat stored in deep low-permeability rock and hydrokinetic technologies that tap ocean tidal currents and wave energy, require further development before they can be considered viable entrants into the marketplace.

    Despite short-term increases in cost over the past couple of years, in particular for wind turbines and solar photovoltaics, there have been substantial long-term decreases in the costs of these technologies, and recent cost increases due to manufacturing and materials shortages will be reduced if sustained growth in renewable sources spurs increased investment in them. In addition, support for basic and applied research is needed to drive continued technological advances and cost reductions for all renewable electricity technologies.

    In contrast to fossil-based or nuclear energy, renewable energy resources are more widely distributed, and the technologies that convert these resources to useful energy must be located at the source of the energy. Further, extensive use of intermittent renewable resources such as wind and solar power to generate electricity must accommodate temporal variation in the availability of these resources.

    This variability requires special attention to system integration and transmission issues as the use of renewable electricity expands. Such considerations will become especially important at greater penetrations of renewable electricity in the domestic electricity generation mix. A contemporaneous, unified intelligent electronic control and communications system overlaid on the entire electricity delivery infrastructure would enhance the viability and continued expansion of renewable electricity in the period from to In the third time period, and beyond, further expansion of renewable electricity is possible as advanced technologies are developed, and as existing technologies achieve lower costs and higher performance with the maturing of the technology and an increasing scale of deployment.

    Achieving a predominant i. Ahlstrom, M. Jones, R. Zavadil, and W. The future of wind forecasting and utility operations. Bain, R. Electricity from biomass in the United States: Status and future direction. Bioresource Technology Bett, A. Dimroth, G. Stollwerck, and O. III-V compounds for solar cell applications. Applied Physics Beaudry-Losique, J. Presentation at the first meeting of the Panel on Electricity from Renewable Resources, September, 18, Washington, D.

    Bossel, U. Energy and the Hydrogen Economy. Arlington, Va. Bowen, J. Disruptive technologies: Catching the wave. Harvard Business Review 73 1 Bridgewater, A. The technical and economic feasibility of biomass gasification for power generation. Fuel Bullough, C. Gatzen, C. Jakiel, M. Koller, A.

    Nowi, and S. Advanced adiabatic compressed air energy storage for the integration of wind energy. Brussels: U. European Wind Energy Association. Christensen, C.

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    Cambridge, Mass. DOE U. Department of Energy. Houston, Tex. San Francisco. Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. Electricity Supply. Biomass for Electricity Generation. Department of Energy, EIA. Renewable Energy Annual, Annual Energy Review EPA U. Environmental Protection Agency. Assessment of Waterpower Potential and Development Needs.

    Palo Alto, Calif. Sponsored by California Energy Commission. Sacramento, Calif. Ernst, B. Oakleaf, M. Lange, C. Moehrlen, B. Lange, U. Focken, and K. Predicting the wind. Fletcher, E. Solar thermal processing: A review. Journal of Solar Energy Engineering Gyuk, I. Energy storage for a greener grid. Presentation at the third meeting of the Panel on Electricity from Renewable Resources, January 16, Hawlins, D. Jones, A. Recent developments in salinity gradient power. Columbia, Md. King, D. Boyson, and J. Photovoltaic Array Performance Model.

    Albuquerque, N. Kroposki, B. Renewable energy interconnection and storage. Mancini, T. Heller, B. Bulter, B. Osborn, S. Wolfgang, G. Vernon, R. Buck, R. Diver, C. Andraka, and J. Dish Stirling systems: An overview of development and status. McKenna, J. Blackwell, C. Moyes, and P. Geothermal electric power supply possible from Gulf Coast, Midcontinent oil field waters. Miles, A. Hydropower at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

    Mills, D. Le Lievre, and G. Lower temperature approach for very large solar power plants. Minerals Management Service. Wave energy potential on the U. Outer Continental Shelf. Technology white paper. Department of the Interior. Muckerman, J. Polyansky, T. Wada, K. Tanaka, and E.

    Inorganic Chemistry 47 6 Muljadi, E. Butterfield, R. Yinger, and H. Energy storage and reactive power compensator in a large wind farm. AIAA Reston, Va. The costs include: infrastructure investment, day-to-day operations, market costs of supply and the environmental costs of the different energy sources [2] [10].

    Therefore, the debate remains mainly focused on the economic and financial perspectives, particularly on the cost-effectiveness of renewable energy technologies, and the possible various economic incentives to promote renewables globally in terms of: regulatory design and affordability [10]. The cost advantage that fossil fuels used to have over renewable energy sources has been decreasing recently, with some renewable technologies Solar PV, wind, hydropower already competing fossil fuels directly on the financial frontier [2]. Furthermore, renewables' costs are expected to decline even further, and those of fossil fuels will incline [2].

    The following two figures show that -while on one hand- the oil prices are on the rise during the s, on the other hand, investments in renewables are on the rise during the same period, thus reflecting its competitiveness against oil in recent years. The renewables' market development during the past years had few moving factors, which can be summarized as follows:. According to the most recent reports on renewable energy technologies, from IRENA, REN21 and IEA, electricity costs from almost all the renewable projects that were commissioned in , have continued to decline [12] [16] [4]. Projects of bioenergy power, hydropower, geothermal and onshore wind, which were commissioned in that year, have widely fallen into the generation costs' range of fossil-generated electricity, and furthermore, some of these projects have actually undercut those of fossil fuels-based ones [16].

    Under the right conditions, it will potentially decline to USD 0. Onshore wind is already one of t he most competitive sources for generation capacity. The varying fall ranges in LCOE for solar and wind power in particular have been mainly driven by the reduction in total installment costs, which is affected by three main forces [16] :. Based on current installed projects and auction data, in combination with mass production increase and specific investment costs, electricity from renewables -sooner rather than later- will be cheaper than that from fossil fuels [14] [16].

    All the renewable power generation technologies are expected to fall within the fossil fuel cost range, with the majority having the potential to undercut it [14] [16]. This will significantly lower the LCOE of all technologies, eventually leading to a market potential increase and development for renewables [14] [16].

    As the markets develop, the costs normally do as well, as both developments go hand in hand [4] [2]. The previously mentioned factors push the market to increase its renewables' volume, leading to economies of scale. On one hand, this reduces the price and later the actual costs of the technology, while on the other hand, reduced prices increase market volumes, again producing economies of scale, eventually resulting in a feedback loop, that either way paves the path for renewables [4] [16].

    The continuous pressure on market prices and its margins is rapidly forcing the market to change, as renewables' costs have considerably declined and are still on the decline [4]. Their costs are expected to go down even further over the coming few years [11] [4]. Furthermore, adding to renewables' economic evolution, both public commitments and the maturing technologies, investments in renewables have rapidly increased turning the renewables industry to a very competitive sector against other energy resources [4]. However, the competition is not only limited within the energy or power sector itself, but different renewables are even starting to compete against each other within the renewables' sector itself [11] [4].

    With costs of renewables are continuing to fall, drastically in solar PV, followed by wind and concentrated solar power closely behind, the global installed capacity has exponentially grown [11] [4]. Thus adding up to almost two thirds of the all new generating capacity installed globally in [11] [4].