INET Oxford research prompts a New York Times article about how increasing the output of green technologies faster is likely to have big payoffs for budgets as well as the planet.
New York Times columnist Peter Coy has written an article on a recent INET Oxford study showing that replacing fossil fuels with clean energy by around 2050 would save us trillions in energy costs alone. As Coy explains, the study shows that the costs of solar photovoltaics, wind turbines and batteries (to store the energy generated by sun and wind) dropped at a rate of nearly 10 percent a year for several decades. In contrast, fossil fuel technology is already well advanced and the resources it relies upon are getting harder to find, meaning there is far less room for cost reductions.
In conversation with Coy, study lead author, Dr Rupert Way, put it as follows: “High-tech technologies tend to get cheaper because of ever-increasing knowledge accumulation. Comparatively lower-tech technologies can’t get much cheaper because we’ve accumulated all the knowledge we can already.” As Dr Way goes on to explain, a virtuous cycle then kicks in with these high tech technologies where “increasing production causes lower costs and lower costs cause increasing demand, which increases production.”
“There is a virtuous cycle in which increasing production causes lower costs and lower costs cause increasing demand, which increases production.” Dr Rupert Way, INET Oxford Associate
The study shows that scaling up key green technologies is likely to drive their costs down so far that they generate net cost savings overall, and the faster we go, the more we will save. As Coy writes, this means “pushing to increase the output of green technologies faster could have big payoffs for budgets as well as the planet.”