We evaluate the cost of four different scenarios for the global energy system from 2020 to 2070 using an empirically validated technology forecasting method based on an expansive historical dataset. A no-transition scenario that maintains the current energy mix provides a benchmark. Under a rapid transition scenario, solar photovoltaics and wind are quickly deployed using batteries for short-term storage. Hydrogen-based fuels are used for long-term storage and non-electrifiable applications. Energy prices become lower than historical averages after 2030 and considerably lower after 2050. This yields an expected net present saving at any sensible discount rate; at 4% for example, we predict savings of $5.6 trillion. In contrast, a slower transition is more expensive, while a nuclear scenario is substantially more expensive.


Way, R., Mealy, P. & Farmer, J.D. (2020). 'Estimating the costs of energy transition scenarios using probabilistic forecasting methods'. INET Oxford Working Paper No. 2021-01.
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