Renewable energy has achieved unprecedented acceptance as a cost competitive technology of choice and is no longer an expensive alternative to traditional sources, according to Dr Ahmad Belhoul, CEO of Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company.
Speaking at the plenary session at the Bloomberg Future of Energy Summit in New York, Dr Belhoul’s remarks were featured in the CEO Fireside Chat moderated by Angus McCrone, Chief Editor, Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Al Gore, Former Vice President of the United States and Chair, The Climate Reality Project, delivered the Summit’s global keynote address Additional speakers included Michael Bloomberg, Founder of Bloomberg and Former Mayor of New York and Connie Hedegaard, Former Commissioner for Climate Action, European Union.
Dr Belhoul told attendees that even with low prices for oil and gas, the growth of renewable energy is strong worldwide. He pointed out that this year solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity alone is expected to grow by 25 per cent.
“Renewable energy is commercially viable and is cost-competitive with other sources. For example, the cost of electricity from solar power has declined by 75% over the past seven years. Today, residents of more than 30 countries can buy electricity from Solar PV for less than from the conventional grid,” Dr Belhoul told more than 1,000 delegates.
Significant investments in new renewable energy projects are driving new levels of diversity in the global energy mix, advancing energy security, Dr Belhoul told summit attendees. “Renewables have tremendous room to grow, since only 3 per cent of global final energy consumption is based on solar and wind,” he said.
Dr Belhoul noted that Masdar stands to benefit from its experience with large-scale and small-scale renewable projects, as renewables are the fastest growing energy sector. “Masdar’s renewable energy portfolio spans some of the world’s largest, most pioneering utility-scale renewable energy projects,” he said.
“We are also delivering renewable energy and clean-technology solutions to remote, communities around the world. As a result, we are helping communities gain critical access to energy – reducing costs, cutting emissions and enabling economic growth,” said Dr Belhoul.
During the course of the summit, Dr Belhoul and the Masdar delegation are holding a series of meetings with energy industry business leaders and energy experts at which they will highlight the pioneering role Masdar is playing in demonstrating that the economic, social and environmental benefits of sustainability can still be cost competitive.
Running until Wednesday, the Future of Energy Summit is one of the leading energy industry events. Organized by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, it brings together senior decision-makers, from banking and finance, corporates, government and multilateral international organizations, to shape the future of energy.