An Imperial College and Carbon Tracker report which took into account the latest cost reduction projections for the green technologies, and countries’ pledges to cut emissions, finds that solar power and electric vehicles are “game-changers” that could leave fossil fuels stranded.
It predicts that polluting fuels could lose 10% of market share to solar power and clean cars within a decade which is enough to cause the collapse of the coal mining industry in the US, while Europe’s five major utilities lost €100bn (£85bn) between 2008 and 2013 because they did not prepare for an 8% increase in renewables, Emerging technology, such as printable solar photovoltaics which generate electricity, could bring down costs and boost take-up even more.
According to this report there are a number of low-carbon technologies about to achieve critical mass decades before some traditional fuel companies expect. The cost of solar has fallen 85% in seven years, and the report finds panels could supply 23% of global power generation by 2040 and 29% by 2050, entirely phasing coal out and leaving natural gas with just a 1% share.
By 2035, electric vehicles could make up 35% of the road transport market, and two-thirds by 2050, when it could displace 25m barrels of oil per day. Under such a scenario, coal and oil demand could peak in 2020, while the growth in gas demand could be curtailed.