Thursday, February 9, 2023

When it comes to the energy transition, one analyst sees the market making a big mistake

Lombard Odier's head of sustainability research on the 'transformation of our entire economy'

The tempo of change within the fashionable world is usually fast and dizzying. Technologies that appear integral to our lives can, in what appears like an instantaneous, grow to be redundant and irrelevant.

Energy is one sector the place innovation and new concepts matter an awesome deal, as nations and firms attempt to discover methods to shift to a society based mostly round renewables like wind and photo voltaic slightly than fossil fuels like coal, oil and pure gasoline.

During a panel dialogue eventually week’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, one analyst expressed his concern that the market didn’t appear to have realized from different technological revolutions.

Thomas Hohne-Sparborth, head of sustainability analysis at Lombard Odier, highlighted the massive shifts happening within the subject of low and zero-carbon applied sciences and, by extension, wider society.

“We’ve seen past industrial revolutions, including past energy transitions,” Hohne-Sparborth mentioned. “What we’re really seeing now is the complete transformation of our entire economy.”

“The demand side of our economy, the way we power vehicles, the way we heat our buildings, the way we use energy in industry — all of that needs to be transformed.”

We had been, Hohne-Sparborth mentioned, “looking at investment needs in the trillions of dollars.”

When it involves the power transition, the sums being mentioned are certainly important. Last yr, the International Energy Agency’s “World Energy Outlook 2022” report mentioned clear power funding could possibly be on track to exceed $2 trillion per year by 2030, a rise of over 50% in comparison with as we speak.

Analyst talks clean energy, the pace of change and lessons the market can learn from history

As the dialogue in Davos — which was moderated by CNBC’s Joumanna Bercetche — progressed, Hohne-Sparborth was requested if clear power was now reasonably priced on the scale required.

The reply to that query was, he replied, “very rapidly shifting, and today I would say, yes, it has become the cheapest source of energy.”

“What I think the market at large is underestimating is simply the pace at which this transition is unfolding,” he added, explaining that classes could possibly be realized from historical past.

“We’ve done some work looking at past technological revolutions, whether it’s the adoption of steamships, of mobile phones — any piece of major sort of new technology of infrastructure.”

All such transitions had, Hohne-Sparborth argued, “tended to follow a very similar pattern. They unfold very slowly … and then the transition completes in a span of 10 to 20 years.”

“Yet if you look today at what the market is anticipating — how long it will take us to electrify our buildings, to electrify our vehicle fleets — the timeframes there are still much longer.”

For Hohne-Sparborth, it did not appear to be getting by means of that, “when a new, superior technology emerges, that becomes cost competitive, that rollout can happen very quickly.”

Dramatic change

Also showing on the CNBC panel was Andrés Gluski, the CEO of power agency AES.

“What we’re facing … is a dramatic change,” he mentioned, including that renewables now represented “the cheapest form of energy, in most cases.”

“The problem is capacity — how do you keep the lights on 24/7 — and that’s where you have to use lithium-ion batteries on a daily basis.”

Expanding on his level, he went on to emphasise the significance of adopting a wide range of applied sciences.

“To really get to a complete decarbonization we’re going to need green hydrogen, we’ll probably need small modular nukes, etcetera.”

“And I also agree very much that what we need is for renewables to be more than just competitive — just better so that we lower costs, [and] equal in quality.”

“And that’s honestly what the corporate sector is demanding very much, and many consumers.”

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