It’s the economics, stupid (or a techno-economic perspective on the transition to a low emissions energy sector) (10577)
In this paper we summarise the latest results from the literature. We will show that the energy sector can significantly reduce its emissions while maintaining energy affordability.
There are no major technical barriers that would prevent the transition to a lower or even zero emissions energy sector. While there is no silver bullet solution, there is certainly no shortage of low emissions energy technologies in both the electricity and transport sectors. The intermittency of some renewable energy energy technologies also does not present a major barrier. A combination of forecasting systems, electrical and non-electrical storage as well as other demand side management approaches would enable a high share of renewable energy technologies in the electricity sector. Some, so called dispatchable, low emissions technologies, such as geothermal or carbon capture and storage, are likely to be needed to deeply decarbonise the electricity sector.
The real determinant of the speed and magnitude of the decarbonisation of our energy system is how much we are prepared to invest in it. While the immediate costs of a low emissions energy system are likely to be somewhat higher than those of a conventional system, with a focus on energy efficiency and peak demand reduction, the affordability of electricity can be maintained while transitioning to a lower emissions energy future.