Solar & Wind Energy

Topic Background

Solar and wind energy are two forms of renewable energy that are already implemented at a substantial scale. In order to further expand the capacity for wind and solar energy, however, there are still issues that need to be considered.
On top of the remaining needs to drive down costs and improve efficiency, connection with the grid also needs to be substantially improved through development of better power conversion and energy storage technologies, as the generation capacity for renewable energies rapidly expands.

Solar Power

The solar energy reaching the ground is estimated to be approximately 170 W/m2 (21 trillion kW in total). Since global energy demand is about 0.16 trillion kW , it is possible to satisfy the global energy demand with less than 1% of the solar energy reaching the ground.
There are two kinds of methods for harnessing solar energy as electric power: solar thermal power generation and photovoltaic (PV) power generation. For respective methods, 3GW (2014) and 135GW (2013) were installed and they are expanding.

Comments and Discussion


  • Posted by David Sandalow
  • January 17, 2017
  • Inaugural Fellow, Center on Global Energy Policy, Columbia University

Last October more than 1000 people from around the world convened in Tokyo for the 3rd Innovation for Cool Earth Forum (ICEF). With participation from senior government officials, business executives and thought leaders, the conference has become an important forum for dialogue on ways to promote clean energy and protect the planet.But ICEF is more than an annual conference.  The ICEF Innovat...

Power Conversion Technologies for Large Scale Renewables Integration: Reviews and Prospects of ICEF 2016 Concurrent Sessions

  • Posted by Georg Erdmann
  • November 18, 2016
  • Professor, Berlin University of Technology

Large shares of renewable electricity pose major challenges to the power grid: One is that renewables are to be produced where wind potentials exist and space for harvesting solar radiation and biomass is available. Unfortunately these renewable resources exist often in remote areas far from power load centers. As a consequence, a growing share of renewable electricity depends on long distance ele...

UK approves the world’s largest wind farm project

  • Posted by ICEF Secretariat
  • August 29, 2016

The plan to develop the world’s largest offshore wind farm was approved by UK’s Business and Energy Secretary, Greg Clark. The wind farm, being developed by Dong Energy (Denmark), consists of 300 turbines and is expected to deliver 1,800MW.

ICEF Roadmap 1.0, “Distributed Solar and Storage” Released at COP21

  • Posted by ICEF Secretariat
  • December 17, 2015

The final version of the ICEF Roadmap entitled “Distributed Solar and Storage – ICEF Roadmap 1.0”, which reflects discussion that took place in the Solar Energy session of the ICEF 2nd Annual Meeting in October, was released at COP21. Mr. David Sandalow, a member of the Steering Committee, presented an outline of this ICEF Roadmap at forums including a side event hosted by IEA. ...

Effective Policies will lead to cost effective Energy supply in energy rich Japan without going back to Nuclear

  • Posted by Volker Thomsen
  • November 17, 2015
  • Vice President and Treasurer, World Wind Energy Association

  Effective Policies will lead to cost effective Energy supply in energy rich Japan without going back to Nuclear Most of the electricity generation on our planet is and was in the past based on fossil fuels and some nuclear. Most of them have traditionally in common not to use the heat and therefore only maximum an efficiency rate of around 40 % nuclear around 35 % even below the others. B...

Renewable Energy Generation

  • Posted by Peter Liu
  • October 1, 2015
  • Chairman, WI Harper Group

Energy is an important global need and is a critical factor fueling the development and competitiveness economies around the world along with technology and infrastructure. Moreover, we see a strong correlation worldwide between energy consumption and GDP per capita, as increased productivity and energy consumption drives the development of industries, nations, and livelihoods. At the same time, r...

[Series: Road to Paris & Beyond]
What can be expected from COP21 from the viewpoint of clean technologies?

  • Posted by Georg Erdmann
  • June 30, 2015
  • Professor, Berlin University of Technology

The new bottom-up approach invites individual countries to propose national emission reduction targets on a voluntary basis. These statements had been due to end of May 2015. As far as it is known today, most national emission reduction targets are not rather ambitious. It therefore seems that the IPCC target of limiting the global temperature increase by 2 degrees Celsius will probably not reache...

Three Challenges in the Sustainable Future of Energy Systems

  • Posted by Nobuo Tanaka
  • September 8, 2014
  • Professor, GraSPP, the University of Tokyo, Global Associate for Energy Security and Sustainability, the Institute of Energy Economics, Japan(IEEJ), Former Executive Director at the International Energy Agency (IEA)

The International Energy Agency (IEA) published the Energy Technology Perspectives (ETP) 2014 last June. The document is the IEA's biennial flagship publication concerning energy technology solutions for a sustainable future. The ETP 2014 states that a revolutionary reversal of shares of power sources needs to occur to achieve almost zero carbon generation in order to contain the atmospheric temp...

Which technology or innovation is most critical to achieving a sustainable and affordable low-carbon energy system in Europe?

  • Posted by Georg Erdmann
  • August 25, 2014
  • Professor, Berlin University of Technology

One lesson from the German Energiewende is that low-carbon energy solutions cannot come from a short list of innovations and technologies. Crucial is the system integration of low-carbon technologies.   For example, photovoltaic has become a promising technology as its investment costs have sharply declined. Therefore the number of competitive markets and market niches are largely growing a...