Oxford University has been conducting a study on renewable energy and has concluded that making the switch could save countries $12tn by 2050.
Their report has discovered that the cost of renewables is falling. This is based on their analysis of looking at historic price data for renewables and fossil fuels and making calculated decisions on how they will change in the future.
Although the price breakdown for fossil fuels goes back more than 100 years ago, renewables have only been around for a few decades, so there is much less data available. However, the continual improvements in technology have meant the cost of solar and wind power is falling at a rate of around 10% a year. Fossil fuels on the other hand have remained stagnant.
"Our latest research shows scaling-up key green technologies will continue to drive their costs down, and the faster we go, the more we will save," says Dr Rupert Way, the report's lead author from the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment.
Wind and solar are already the cheapest option for new power projects but questions are being raised around the storage of power as well as the balancing of the grid – changes in weather can make this difficult as it has an impact on how much output is being developed by renewables.
The report also discovered that the previously predicted cost of $1bn required to reach Net Zero by 2050 was possibly overestimated. It also challenged the prediction made by The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that keeping global temperatures rises under 2 degrees corresponded with a large loss of GDP by 2050. This report concludes forecasts of major cost implications were too pessimistic, and when in actuality, transitioning to renewables was likely to turn out to be a “net economic benefit”.
Ultimately, the report suggests the transition over to renewables should be done sooner rather than later and not be held back by the perceptions of economic risk.
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