On February 8, 2018, I will have the great privilege of opening the 19th annual French Renewable Energy Association (SER) Congress in the distinguished presence of Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, Ecology Minister Nicolas Hulot, and many others. I will take this opportunity to present some of the results of Capgemini’s World Energy Markets Observatory (WEMO) report for 2017. Some of these conclusions, in terms of renewables, include:

• The capacity of grid-connected renewables is growing rapidly worldwide, with an increase of 30% for solar and 12% for wind. However, this growth is slightly lower in France.
• Investment is lagging, but nevertheless reached nearly USD 250 billion in 2016.
• Connected capacities continue to grow despite the fact that investment has fallen in the past year. This can partially be explained by the time lag before investments yield results, but more importantly, it is caused by the fact that technological advances have lowered costs significantly.
• Renewables have become competitive compared to other forms of electricity generation, with the most competitive generally being: hydropower, onshore wind, and existing nuclear at parity, and the least competitive being: fossil fuels (coal, gas), and solar at parity.
• As costs continue to fall, renewables will become highly competitive, even considering the additional network costs needed to manage intermittency and distribution issues.
• Storage costs, also positioned to fall sharply in the coming years, will accelerate this growth (intermittency management, development of self-consumption).
• The commitment of both communities and companies that want to join the RE100 (100% renewable energy) club is strong and can be expected to grow.
• Traditional energy generation companies don’t want to be left behind, as evidenced by Total’s acquisition of battery manufacturer Saft or EDF’s ambitious plan to develop 30 Gw of solar capacity in France by 2035.
• The future looks bright for renewables that are reaching maturity despite remaining challenges. Especially promising is the tremendous potential of leveraging digital transformation.

The World Energy Markets Observatory is an annual publication by Capgemini that monitors the main indicators of the electricity and gas markets in Europe, North America, Australia and South-east Asia, and reports on the developments and transformations in these sectors. This 19th edition, which is drafted mainly from public data combined with Capgemini’s expertise in the energy sector, refers to data from 2016 and winter 2016/2017. Special expertise on regulation, climate challenges and customer behavior is given respectively by De Pardieu Brocas Maffei, the I4CE—Institute for Climate Economics —and VaasaETT research teams. I encourage you to download a copy today.