A peer-reviewed study by Oxford University researchers, published today in the journal Joule, estimates that switching to a decarbonized energy system by 2050 will save the world at least $12 trillion compared to maintaining the present levels of fossil fuel usage.
Innovation News Network reported that by 2050, the world would have a fossil-free energy system, as demonstrated by the research.
The lead author and postdoctoral researcher at Oxford’s Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, Dr. Rupert Way, stated:
|“Past models, predicting high costs for transitioning to zero carbon energy, have deterred companies from investing and made governments nervous about setting policies that will accelerate the energy transition and cut reliance on fossil fuels. But clean energy costs have fallen sharply over the last decade, much faster than those models expected. “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. Accelerating the transition to renewable energy is now the best bet not just for the planet, but for energy costs too.”|
Notably, the invasion of Ukraine by Russia has driven up the price of fossil fuels through inflation.
Despite the research being conducted before the war’s current crisis, it claimed to utilize data from more than a century’s fossil fuel price records to adjust for such variations.
Using data on 45 years of solar energy costs, 37 years of wind energy costs, and 25 years of battery storage costs, the team examined hundreds of transition cost scenarios from significant energy models.
According to the research results, switching quickly to inexpensive, clean energy sources that benefit both the economy and the environment is the most efficient solution to the energy crisis.
Additionally, the findings suggest that during the past 20 years, older models drastically miscalculated the future prices of clean energy systems compared to reality, with the true cost of solar energy falling twice as quickly as the most daring projection in these models.
The study’s lead researcher, Professor Doyne Farmer of the Oxford Martin School’s Institute for New Economic Thinking, explained:
|“There is a pervasive misconception that switching to clean, green energy will be painful, costly, and mean sacrifices for us all – but that’s just wrong. “Renewable costs have been trending down for decades. They are already cheaper than fossil fuels in many situations, and, our research shows, they will become cheaper than fossil fuels across almost all applications in the years to come. And, if we accelerate the transition, they will become cheaper faster. Completely replacing fossil fuels with clean energy by 2050 will save us trillions.”|
The results also showed that the prices of crucial storage technologies, such as batteries and hydrogen electrolysis, are going to drop significantly.
Professor Farmer concluded:
|“The world is facing a simultaneous inflation crisis, national security crisis, and climate crisis, all caused by our dependence on high cost, insecure, polluting, fossil fuels with volatile prices. This study shows ambitious policies to accelerate dramatically the transition to a clean energy future as quickly as possible are, not only, urgently needed for climate reasons, but can save the world trillions in future energy costs, giving us a cleaner, cheaper, more energy secure future.”|
Remarkably, the Oxford Martin School’s Institute for New Economic Thinking, the Oxford Martin Programme on the Post-Carbon Transition, the Smith School of Enterprise & Environment at the University of Oxford, and Monash University’s SoDa Labs worked together on the study.