I don't get it, wouldn't lower oil prices reduce demand for renewable energy, thus reducing investment?
Very little power is generated using oil. The exceptions are places like the Bahamas, where coal isn't really accessible and it's easier to get oil on the island...but in those cases, there's really no effect from lower oil prices anyways because oil/diesel are incredibly expensive when compared to pretty much every other kind of generation. Also, oil only just recently dropped in price; planned projects related to the study here would have been planned out two years earlier (at the earliest) and capitalized a year before when budgets were worked out. It's odd, because the report talks about "industry concerns" related to this...but I work in the power industry, and nobody there even notices that the cost of oil has been low. So I don't understand who these analysts are speaking to, or how much knowledge they really have of the power sector.
What's behind this is another thing that the analysts totally don't see...the challenges of managing generation from renewables, and the fact that power companies have been able to make strides towards this. Generation and load (sink) have to be in balance...otherwise you get variations in both voltage and frequency. This has been a hard enough challenge to manage when the utilities had solid control over generation (they have very little control over load, and what control they do have is caused by "load shedding," whereby they cause a small, localized blackout). But when you add renewables, they lose control over some of their generation output as well...the wind picks up/dies down, clouds cover (or uncover) solar panels, etc. This was further validated as power companies started solar and wind projects, and saw the impact that came from them. The problem can be managed, but it requires more analytic systems (Transmission Management Systems, Distribution Management Systems, and Advanced Distribution Mangement Systems), AMI meters, and a host of other things that are referred to as "WAMPAC," or "Wide Area Monitoring, Protection and Control". These technologies have been developing over the years, and they all take a lot of time and money to implement. That said, power companies have been busily rolling them out, and now a lot of them are far better-prepared to absorb the fluctuations incurred by renewable energy sources.
So, in short:
-Renewable projects fired up some years ago
-They made it harder to manage the grid, as is
-Power companies, now having solid hard information as to how renewables impact their own piece of the grid, set about dealing with the problem with new tech
-Now they're better-prepared to roll out more renewable generation capacity