Energy Watch Group Accuses IEA Of Lowballing Renewable Energy Forecasts, Again

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The Energy Watch Group has again accused the International Energy Agency of lowballing its renewable energy forecasts, claiming that the IEA is playing a “dangerous game” in so reliably and heavily underestimating the growth of wind and solar.

We covered the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) latest Medium-Term Renewable Market Report late-October, in which it increased its own renewable energy growth projections by 13% over its 2015 report. The IEA highlighted the continued downward trend of renewable energy costs, rewriting its projections for 2016 to 2021 to accommodate the new information.

However, according to the Energy Watch Group (EWG), an “independent, non-profit global network of scientists and parliamentarians,” these revisions are not enough, and represent a continued underestimation of the growth of wind and solar PV. Specifically, Energy Watch Group takes issue with the IEA’s claim that growth of wind and solar PV will peak in 2015 and 2016 respectively.

“The IEA is playing a dangerous game using misleading assumptions in its renewables projections,” said Christian Breyer, Professor of Solar Economy at Lappeenranta University of Technology in Finland and Chairman of the EWG scientific board. “Although solar PV and wind are already the lowest cost sources of electricity in many regions in the world, the IEA continues to project that annual installations in these two sectors would not grow in the coming five years compared to the already achieved levels in 2015 and 2016.”

An analysis of the IEA Market Report done by EWG also found that cost assumptions for solar PV in major markets for 2016 were at least 20% higher than reality. For example, current prices for solar PV plants in India are around the 750 USD/kWp mark, and the IEA claims that prices in the leading solar markets of China and Germany should not be lower than 1150 – 1300 USD/kWp, despite already being 35% to 40% lower. Further, the IEA claims that between 2016 and 2021 the Asia Pacific region will add around 85 GW of solar PV — despite India alone planning to install 90 GW, or 100 GW by 2022.

“We would like to know why the IEA assumes that this policy target in India will not be achieved,” Breyer asked. “We have not found valid arguments in the report.”

EWG also points to the IEA’s projecting a lack of growth of annual sold electric vehicles after 2020, despite trends suggesting electric cars will be cheaper than traditional vehicles before 2025.

“In the last 10 years, the IEA has been making misleading projections for solar PV and wind, as well as e-mobility, ignoring the radical price fall in these sectors,” said Hans-Josef Fell, President of Energy Watch Group and former Member of the German Parliament. “This appears as an attempt of protecting fossil fuel business that has come under economic pressure. We call on the IEA to urgently review its assumptions and to finally make realistic projections in its forthcoming World Energy Outlook.”

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Joshua S Hill

I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, and I believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I also write for Fantasy Book Review (, and can be found writing articles for a variety of other sites. Check me out at for more.

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