Mark Lewis sees the increasingly unsustainable fossil fuel business model as being potentially wiped out over the next two decades by the renewable energy industry, which in contrast “has achieved tremendous cost reductions in recent years.”
As oil costs and prices creep upwards due to “rising demand under increasingly constrained supply conditions… the greater the incentive will be to accelerate the deployment of renewable-energy technologies and to achieve greater energy-efficiency savings.”
Under a business as usual scenario, Lewis warns of a “real risk to the oil industry from rising prices” which when “combined with continuing reductions in the costs of renewable technologies… could drive the accelerated substitution of oil in the global energy mix over the next two decades:
“In turn, this would risk creating stranded assets over the medium to longer term both for the oil industry itself and – owing to the central role of oil in energy pricing more generally – for the global fossil-fuel industry as a whole.”
Powers agrees. “The biggest solutions to the coming deliverability crisis will be residential solar, energy storage and improved grid management,” he said. But the “incumbent utilities will fight very aggressively.”
In this context, throwing more money at the dying industry of yesteryear is clearly not the answer – no matter how much they disingenuously clamour for it. Cold, hard economic reality is staring us in the face: we need to ramp-up investments in the clean, decentralised technologies of tomorrow.
Dr. Nafeez Ahmed is an international security journalist and academic. He is the author of A User’s Guide to the Crisis of Civilization: And How to Save It, and the forthcoming science fiction thriller, Zero Point. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter @nafeezahmed.