2021-09-20 DrVolts on energy transition models

David Roberts (@drvolts): In the past, energy-economic models have almost uniformly underestimated the rate of deployment of renewable energy and overestimated its costs. A team at Oxford has tried to correct for that. Fascinating results. A short thread. https://www.inet.ox.ac.uk/files/energy_transition_paper-INET-working-paper.pdf

David Roberts (@drvolts): What happens if current cost & deployment trends continue for another decade? "a rapid green energy transition will likely result in overall net savings of many trillions of dollars - even without accounting for climate damages or co-benefits of climate policy."

David Roberts (@drvolts): Catch that last bit? Even without accounting for reductions in air pollution (which alone would pay for the transition) or reductions in GHGs, a rapid transition to clean energy would save trillions, purely on the economics. Clean energy is just cheaper.

David Roberts (@drvolts): Also amazing: "We show that if solar photovoltaics, wind, batteries, and hydrogen electrolyzers continue to follow their current exponentially increasing deployment trends for another decade, we achieve a near-net-zero emissions energy system within twenty-five years."

David Roberts (@drvolts): In contrast, "a slower transition (which involves deployment growth trends that are lower than current rates) is more expensive and a nuclear driven transition is far more expensive." The cheapest scenario is one where ... what's happening continues happening.

David Roberts (@drvolts): There's plenty of bad news to be had about climate change, but this is one piece of genuinely good news: clean energy is succeeding. It's happening. If we can just keep up the pace, we can get to net-zero in time to avoid the worst catastrophes.

David Roberts (@drvolts): Thanks to @billmckibben for drawing my attention to this paper. I really needed some good news! Obviously, y'all should subscribe to Bill's newsletter. https://billmckibben.substack.com/p/were-finally-catching-a-break-in

David Roberts (@drvolts): One addendum here: there's something darkly amusing about the fact that this scenario, which amounts to "things that are happening keep happening," is considered the wild-eyed unrealistic hippie dream, while a 180° reversal of fortune for nukes & CCS is the tough, realistic view.