By Carolina Kyllmann | –
( Clean Energy Wire ) – The past decade has seen a sharp drop in prices for clean technologies, which means models identifying efficient pathways to reduce emissions could become subject to change.
Plummeting prices for solar and wind power generation, battery storage or heat pumps could make the energy transition take effect faster than previously expected, according to a report by the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC).
“The fight against global warming remains an enormous political challenge – but at least new, cheaper ways are opening up,” the MCC said. During the past decade, solar power generation has become 87 percent and battery storage 85 percent cheaper, according to the institute.
While scenarios compatible with the goal of limiting global warming to well below 2°C are optimistic regarding the deployment of technologies such as carbon capture and storage (CCS), they don’t reflect the rates of technological learning and upscaling in renewables in the past decade, the researchers wrote.
There is now evidence “that fossil-free alternatives could become a game changer instead,” according to the MCC.
“Greenhouse gas emissions are higher than ever, the measures taken so far are too weak, but in this politically muddled situation, technological progress provides a ray of hope,” report co-author Jan Minx said.
New decarbonisation models could show that, in the foreseeable future, the global energy transition might be less costly than previously assumed and even help to save costs, Minx added.
The models informing pathways to reduce emissions “would benefit from updated cost assumptions . . . higher resolution on sector coupling, and an overall consideration of demand-side solutions,” the authors concluded.
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