Fuel savings can pay for green energy shift: Report

Making the global switch from climate-altering fossil fuels to renewables by 2050 would require an extra $1 trillion (880 billion euros) per year, but the bill will be covered by lower energy costs, a Greenpeace report said.


On top of some 600 billion euros per year already earmarked by governments and businesses for investment in renewables, the extra funding would be needed to build enough green energy generators to replace coal, oil and gas-fired power stations, it said.

The investment would be more than offset by annual savings of nearly $1.1 trillion in fuel costs, said the report entitled “Energy (R) evolution”, compiled by experts from Greenpeace and the German Aerospace Centre.

Wind turbines, for example, run on a “free” energy source the wind, while a power station has to be constantly refueled with expensive coal or gas.

“Because renewables don’t require fuel, the savings (until 2050) are $1.07 trillion per year, so more than meet the costs of the required investment,” said a Greenpeace statement.

The world’s nations are seeking to curb rampant emissions of climate-altering greenhouse gas emissions in a bid to slow global warming, but the cost of the transformation is often held up as a major obstacle, especially for poor and developing countries.

“The solar and wind industries have come of age, and are cost-competitive with coal,” said the report’s lead author Sven Teske of Greenpeace, and warned the fossil fuel industry was “moving rapidly into irrelevance”.

“Every dollar invested in new fossil fuel projects is high risk capital which might end up as stranded investment.”

The report highlighted that as many as 9.7 million people could have jobs in the solar power industry by 2030 more than 10 times as many as today and equivalent to the current number of jobs in the coal sector.

Wind industry jobs could increase tenfold to nearly eight million.