Fossil fuels could officially be a thing of the past as early as 2020, according to a new report. The report shows the declining costs of electric vehicles and solar energy could put a stop to the growth in worldwide demand for oil and coal in less than three years time.
According to the Guardian, a report by the Grantham Institute at Imperial College London and the Carbon Tracker Initiative entitled “Expect the Unexpected: The disruptive power of low-carbon technology,” polluting fuels could lost 10 percent of their market share to solar power and “clean cars” within a decade.
To put it in perspective, a 10 percent market share loss was enough to cause the recent collapse in the U.S. coal industry, while the five major utilities in Europe collectively lost about $100 billion between 2008 and 2013 because they didn’t ready themselves for the 8 percent growth in renewable energy.
According to the study, “Big energy companies are seriously underestimating the low-carbon transition by sticking to their “business as usual” scenarios which expect continued growth of fossil fuels, and could see their assets “stranded.”
The study also notes that solar photovoltaic power could supply 23 percent of global power generation by 2040, and as much as 29 percent by 2050. That’s enough to entirely phase out coal and leave natural gas with just a 1 percent market share. At the same time Exxon is predicting renewables will supply just 11 percent by 2040.
The researchers also see electric vehicles making up about 35 percent of the road transport market by 2015, and as much as 67 percent by 2050. That growth trajectory will see EVs displace about two million barrels of oil per day in 2025, and grow to 25 million barrels per day by 2050.