A new report by the Institute of New Economic Thinking at Oxford University suggests that previous projections of energy costs have consistently underestimated how cheap renewables would be in the future, including the benefits of rapid adoption.
The report provides forecasts for more than 50 technologies, including solar, offshore wind, and others, and compares them to a future still powered by carbon. “It’s not just good news for renewables. It’s good news for the planet,” said Matthew Ives, senior researcher at Oxford’s Martin Post-Carbon Transition Programme and one of the study’s proponents.
The research used probabilistic cost forecasting methods – taking into account past and current data as well as ongoing technological developments in the renewable energy sector. It also used large data repositories from sources such as the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and Bloomberg. In addition, the report presents its findings in three scenarios: a rapid switch to renewable energy, a slow transition, and no transition at all.
The cost of renewable energy has steadily fallen as nations have moved away from fossil fuels. Solar, for example, is now cheaper than building new coal or gas-fired power plants, as per an International Energy Agency (IEA) report.
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