New Energy Outlook 2017

NEO is our annual long-term economic forecast of the world’s power sector.

NEO is our annual long-term economic forecast of the world’s power sector.


Focused on the electricity system, NEO combines the expertise of over 80 market and technology specialists in 12 countries to provide a unique view of how the market will evolve.

What sets NEO apart is that our assessment is focused on the parts of the system that are driving rapid change in markets, grid systems and business models. This includes the cost of wind and solar technology, battery storage, electricity demand and the uptake of EVs among others. Get the report.

“Renewable energy sources are set to represent almost three quarters of the $10.2 trillion the world will invest in new power generating technology until 2040, thanks to rapidly falling costs for solar and wind power, and a growing role for batteries, including electric vehicle batteries, in balancing supply and demand.”



Solar energy’s challenge to coal gets broader

Solar is already at least as cheap as coal in Germany, Australia, the U.S., Spain and Italy. The levelized cost of electricity from solar is set to drop another 66% by 2040.


China and India lead in energy investment

Just under a third of Asia Pacific’s investment in energy will go to wind, a third to solar, 18% to nuclear and 10% to coal and gas.


Batteries and flexibility bolster the reach of renewables

Utility-scale batteries increasingly compete with natural gas to provide system flexibility at times of peak demand.


Electric vehicles bolster electricity use

Charging EVs flexibly, when renewables are generating and wholesale prices are low, will help the system adapt to intermittent solar and wind.


Homeowners’ love of solar grows

This, combined with the growth of large-scale renewables, reduces the need for existing large-scale coal and gas plants.


Coal’s point of no return

Sluggish demand, cheap renewables and coal-gas fuel switching slash coal use by 87% in Europe and 45% in the U.S. by 2040, while coal generation continues to grow in China but reaches peak in 2026.


Gas is a transition fuel, but not in the way most people think

Gas-fired power sees $804 billion in new investment and 16% more capacity by 2040.


Global power sector emissions peak in 2026

However, a further $5.3 trillion investment in 3.9TW of zero-carbon capacity would be required to keep the planet on a 2-degrees-Celsius trajectory.

Note: Levelized cost of electricity covers all lifetime expenses of generation from a new plant. These costs include site development, permitting, equipment and civil works, finance, operations and maintenance and feedstock (if any).

Read the full press release

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BNEF clients can access the full report, its breakdown by technology and region, as well as the underlying Excel data and previous editions. Go to client page.

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June 27 2017

BNEF’s Bhavnagri on Renewables Outcompeting Coal on Cost

June 19 2017

Bullard: Investing Trillions in Electricity’s Sunny Future

June 15 2017

Solar Power Will Kill Coal Faster Than You Think

Meet the authors

Seb Henbest

NEO Lead Author


Elena Giannakopoulou

NEO Lead Analyst


Matthias Kimmel

NEO Analyst


Ethan Zindler



Jonas Rooze



Kobad Bhavnagri

Asia Pacific


Tom Harries


Jenny Chase



Richard Chatterton

Fossil Fuels

Andrew Turner



In close collaboration with:

Logan Goldie-Scot, Sophie Lu, Andreas Gandolfo, Natalie Keating, Shantanu Jaiswal, Nick Steckler, Hugh Bromley, Ali Izadi, Leonard Quong, Abishek Rohatgi, Luiza Demoro, Salim Morsy, Ali Asghar, Martin Tengler, Tom Rowlands-Rees, Colin McKerracher, Amy Grace, Will Nelson, Colleen Regan, Rachel Jiang, Ana Verena Lima, Helena Cheung, Chris Gadomski, Ashish Sethia, Nannan Kou, David Hostert, Justin Wu, James Sprinz, Jahn Olsen, Diego Marquina, Nikolas Soulopoulos, and many other analysts from BNEF’s 16 offices around the world.

Want to learn how we help our clients put it all together? Contact us