Having only recently been recognized as a “mainstream” energy source, renew-able energy is now rapidly becoming a preferred one. A powerful combination of enabling trends and demand trends—evident in multiple developed and developing nations globally—is helping solar and wind compete on par with conventional sources and win.
THE FIRST ENABLER is that renewables are reaching price and performance parity on the grid and at the socket. Second, solar and wind can cost-effectively help balance the grid. Third, new technologies are honing the competitive edge of wind and solar.
Demand from energy consumers has mostly co-alesced around three goals that the first three trends have enabled renewables to best fulfill. With varying degrees of emphasis on each goal, consumers are seeking the most reliable, affordable, and environ-mentally responsible energy sources . Chief among these consumers are cities inte-grating renewables into their smart city plans, community energy projects democratizing access to the benefits of renewables on and off the grid, emerging markets leading the deployment of renewables on their path to development, and cor-porations expanding the scope of their solar and wind procurement. These trends will likely continue to strengthen through two mutually reinforcing virtuous circles. The deployment of new technologies will help further decrease costs and improve integration. This will enable a growing number of energy con-sumers to procure their preferred energy source and accelerate national energy transitions across the world.
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