Green electricity could become the cheapest energy by 2050; Study

By Shilpa Annie Joseph, Desk Reporter
  • Follow author on
Green Electricity
Representational Image

German government-funded research body Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) has revealed that the cost-slashing innovations are underway in the electric power sector and could give electricity the lead over fossil-based combustion fuels in the world’s energy supply by mid-century.

These developments, when combined with a global carbon price, can catalyze emission reductions to meet the Paris climate targets while decreasing the need for controversial negative emissions, according to the new study.

“Our computer simulations show that together with global carbon pricing, green electricity can become the cheapest form of energy by 2050, and in the long-term supply up to three-quarters of all demand,” said Dr. Gunnar Luderer, author of the new study and researcher at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research as well as professor of Global Energy Systems Analysis at the Technical University of Berlin.

“Today, 80 percent of all energy demands for industry, mobility or heating buildings is met by burning – mostly fossil – fuels directly, and only 20 percent by electricity. Our research finds that relation can be pretty much reversed by 2050, making the easy-to-decarbonize electricity the mainstay of global energy supply,” he added.

For the longest time, fossil fuels were inexpensive and readily available, but electricity was a rare and expensive source of energy, according to Dr. Luderer.

He further noted how renewable electricity generation, particularly solar photovoltaics, has become significantly cheaper at breath-taking speed, a pace that most computer simulations have so far underestimated.

“Over the last decade alone prices for solar electricity fell by 80 percent, and further cost reductions are expected in the future. This development has the potential to fundamentally revolutionize energy systems,” Dr. Luderer concluded.

Related: Masdar crowned as ‘Energy Company of the Year’ at Gulf Business Awards