Assaad Razzouk (@AssaadRazzouk): Ground-breaking Oxford University paper deserves much more air time. It overturns the common thinking that decarbonizing will be hugely expensive (it’s not –in fact it saves us $14-26 TRILLION), but also shows that 100% renewables can displace fossil fuels within 25 years


Assaad Razzouk (@AssaadRazzouk): First, it reminds us that the prices of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas are volatile, but after adjusting for inflation, prices now are very similar to what they were 140 years ago, and there is no obvious long range trend


Assaad Razzouk (@AssaadRazzouk): Second, it shows how for several decades the costs of solar, wind, and batteries have dropped exponentially at a rate near 10% per year, with cost of solar PV down by more than three orders of magnitude since its first commercial use in 1958


Assaad Razzouk (@AssaadRazzouk): Then it shows that if solar, wind, batteries and hydrogen electrolysers continue to follow their current exponentially increasing deployment trends for another decade, we achieve a near-net-zero emissions energy system within just 25 years


Assaad Razzouk (@AssaadRazzouk): In contrast, the Oxford study also show that 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


Assaad Razzouk (@AssaadRazzouk): They digress slightly and show that 2,905 past projections of renewables costs have been “much too high:” They predicted an annual rate at which solar costs would fall between 2010 and 2020 of 2.6%, in stark contrast to actual, which was 15% per year


Assaad Razzouk (@AssaadRazzouk): “Considering their central role in guiding energy investments and climate policy, consequences of such systematic bias in modelling projections are alarming”: Under-investment in critical emission reduction tech + locking-in higher cost energy infrastructure for decades!


Assaad Razzouk (@AssaadRazzouk): In the Oxford Fast Transition scenario, renewable energy and storage technologies maintain their current deployment growth rates for a decade and replace fossil fuels in just two decades


Assaad Razzouk (@AssaadRazzouk): Briefly explaining the Fast Transition Scenario (next 7 tweets):


Assaad Razzouk (@AssaadRazzouk): A. Following a standard S-curve, once renewables become dominant, deployment slows to grow at 2% per year


Assaad Razzouk (@AssaadRazzouk): B. Short term storage and electrification of most transport are achieved with batteries, while long term energy storage and all hard-to-electrify applications are served by power-to-X fuels


Assaad Razzouk (@AssaadRazzouk): Power-to-X is “using electricity for hydrogen electrolysis and either directly using hydrogen or using it to make other fuels such as ammonia and methane”


Assaad Razzouk (@AssaadRazzouk): C. This corresponds to an “electrify almost everything” scenario: Fast Transition has almost all energy services originate with electricity generated by solar and wind, making and burning P2X fuels or using batteries when it is impractical to use renewables directly


Assaad Razzouk (@AssaadRazzouk): D. Fast Transition scenario allocates enough storage capacity using batteries and P2X fuels that the entire global energy system could be run for a month without any sun or wind


Assaad Razzouk (@AssaadRazzouk): And “this is a sensible choice because both batteries and electrolyzers have highly favorable cost and production trends: From 1995 to 2018 production of lithium ion batteries increased at 30% pa, while costs dropped at 12% pa, giving experience curve comparable to solar's


Assaad Razzouk (@AssaadRazzouk): Also: “Currently, about 60% of the cost of electrolytic hydrogen is electricity, and hydrogen is around 80% of the cost of ammonia, so these automatically take advantage of the high progress rates for solar PV and wind”


Assaad Razzouk (@AssaadRazzouk): Critically, they note that we must distinguish final energy (energy delivered for use in sectors of the economy), from useful energy (the portion of final energy used to perform energy services, such as heat, light and kinetic energy)


Assaad Razzouk (@AssaadRazzouk): “Fossil fuels tend to have large conversion losses in comparison to electricity, which means that significantly more final energy needs to be produced to obtain a given amount of useful energy”


Assaad Razzouk (@AssaadRazzouk): “Switching to energy carriers with higher conversion efficiencies (e.g. moving to electric vehicles) significantly reduces final energy consumption”


Assaad Razzouk (@AssaadRazzouk): In conclusion, if the question is whether there is a path forward that can get us to zero-carbon cheaply and quickly, their answer is an emphatic Yes!


Assaad Razzouk (@AssaadRazzouk): This “Fast Transition” scenario should be the only job at #COP26 and every subsequent climate and COP meeting. Importantly, that’s because the Fast Transition is likely to be cheaper by $14 to $26 TRILLION, before accounting for climate damage

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