Solar and wind can economically power rich and poor countries alike, finds a report from the Carbon Tracker Initiative, a London-based think tank.
Powering the world with renewable energy will not require technological breakthroughs. The report finds that with current technology, solar and wind power have the potential to deliver more than 100 times global energy demand.
“The collapse in renewable costs in the last three years means that half of this solar and wind technical potential now has economic potential, and by the end of the decade it will be over 90%,” the authors write.
Cheap renewables will drive fossil fuels off the grid and from the wider economy. “At the current 15–20% growth rates of solar and wind, fossil fuels will be pushed out of the electricity sector by the mid-2030s and out of total energy supply by 2050,” finds the report.
Developing countries are uniquely positioned to benefit from plummeting solar and wind power costs. These economies have the largest ratio of solar and wind potential to energy demand, with Africa alone accounting for 39% of global potential, according to the report.
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“The technical and economic barriers have been crossed and the only impediment to change is political,” the authors conclude.