June 15, 2017 / 12:14 PM / a month ago

Global power sector emissions to peak in 2026 - report

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LONDON (Reuters) - Global emissions of greenhouse gases from the power sector are expected to peak in 2026, but will still be some way above levels needed to limit temperature rises in line with the Paris climate agreement, research showed on Thursday.

Overall, $10.2 trillion will be invested in new global power generation between 2017 and 2040, with renewable power sources such as wind and solar accounting for almost three quarters of that, a report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) said.

By 2040, global emissions are expected to be 4 percent below 2016's levels, but an additional $5.3 trillion investment in renewable power would be needed by 2040 to keep rising global temperatures below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).

Under the 2015 Paris deal, more than 190 countries pledged to curb greenhouse gas emissions to keep planet-warming well below 2 degrees to stave off the worst effects of climate change.

The report said the costs of renewable power were expected to continue to fall, with the cost of solar tipped to fall by 66 percent by 2040.

The cost of offshore wind power is forecast to fall by 71 percent by 2040, helped in part by increased competition and economies of scale from larger projects and bigger turbines.

U.S. President Donald Trump said this month he would withdraw his country from the Paris Agreement, but the report said the move is unlikely to revive the U.S. coal industry.

Coal-fired power generation in the United States is expected to fall by 51 percent by 2040, with a 169 percent increase in renewable power helping to fill the void.

"The greening of the world's electricity system is unstoppable, thanks to rapidly falling costs for solar and wind power, and a growing role for batteries, including those in electric vehicles," said BNEF analyst Seb Henbest, the report's lead author.

Homes and businesses with their own renewable generation sources, such as solar panels, are expected to be able to use and even sell the power they generate by storing it in batteries in their cars.

Electric vehicles and their batteries are forecast to account for 12-13 percent of electricity generation by 2040 in Europe and the United States, the report said.

Reporting by Susanna Twidale; Editing by Adrian Croft

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