World could save USD 12trn with fast green energy transition

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September 14 (Renewables Now) - Rather than adding to costs, a rapid transition to clean energy will save the world many trillions of dollars, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Oxford.

A transition to nearly 100% clean energy by 2050 is expected to cost USD 12 trillion (EUR 11.8trn) less than continuing with current levels of fossil fuel use. The move to a decarbonised energy system will also provide more energy to the global economy and expand energy access.

Lead author Dr Rupert Way said that past models have overestimated green technology costs, while real world costs plunged over the last decade.

“Only a few years ago, net zero by 2050 was believed to be so expensive that it was barely considered credible, yet now even the most pessimistic models concede that it’s entirely within reach,” Way commented. “Our research goes further and shows that scaling up key green technologies is likely to drive their costs down so far that overall they generate net cost savings, and the faster we go, the more we will save,” he added.

The study uses probabilistic cost forecasts for key green energy technologies, including solar, wind, batteries and electrolysers, and finds that the probability of further cost declines is so high that the best bet is speeding up the energy transition.

The study was conducted before the energy crisis triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine but factors in such fossil fuel price fluctuations based on past data. The scientists say the energy crisis highlights the study’s results and exposes the risks of continued dependence on “expensive, insecure, fossil fuels.”

The study was published in Joule on Tuesday.

(USD 1 = EUR 0.983)

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Browse all articles from Plamena Tisheva

Plamena has been a UK-focused reporter for many years. As part of the Renewables Now team she is taking a keen interest in policy moves.

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