Conventional energy sources will remain the bulk of the world’s energy mix for at least the next few decades. Yet there are several alternative-energy technologies that are approaching inflection points in their development and could have an impact on the global energy landscape far sooner than commonly assumed. Other alternative-energy technologies, meanwhile, will remain largely vision and promise for the foreseeable future. This report from the Boston Consulting Group looks at the prospects for a range of alternative-energy technologies.
Selected Findings from the Report
Advanced biofuels are moving rapidly down the cost curve and are on the path to becoming cost competitive in the next 5 years. Once they are cost competitive, they will face several structural barriers to rapid adoption, the biggest of which is likely to be the vast investments needed to build the necessary conversation capacities and other infrastructure.
Concentrated Solar Power CSP) is also moving quickly down the cost curve. With its ability to utilize thermal storage to provide on-demand power, CSP is a likely to disrupt the status quo in power generation by 2025, if major barriers, such as limitations in transmission infrastructure can be overcome.
Solar PV’s costs are also declining rapidly and the technology will see accelerated adoption. However, without breakthrough declines in energy storage costs, inherent challenges posed by the intermittent nature of these technologies will limit their combined penetration to no more than approximately 25% of the total power-generation mix.
Offshore wind will struggle to move beyond purely subsidy-driven growth or to reach economic viability on its own before 2020
Electric vehicles will become economically attractive for lead market segments by 2030 but broader adoption will require major declines in battery costs.
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Authors: Balu Balagopal, Petros Paranikas, Justin Rose