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WHAT IS THE SPEED OF ENERGY TRANSITION?

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by Barış Şanlı:

The headlines like “coming age of renewables” or “phasing out of coal” seems likely to happen in a matter of years. Despite having these changes already initiated, the speed is a matter of question for investors as well as consumers.

After Paris agreement, “stranded asset” discussions were widespread. The oil and coal companies have been warned to be careful for having stranded assets. Making matter worse, as the commodity prices plunged, it became an imminent threat for shareholders. From the IPO of Saudi Aramco to the bankruptcy filing of coal powerhouse Peabody, the economic fortunes of the fossil fuel companies are closely monitored and analyzed.

In this article, the speed of energy transition within an analytical framework will be investigated. By using data from IEA World Energy Balances database, historical energy transition speeds will be examined for the world and different countries. A hypothetical country’s energy transition to solar and electric cars is briefly introduced in the last part.

The findings suggest that transition speed is constrained by technology in several parts of the energy system (infrastructure, production, consumption). One of the fastest transitions in OECD countries happened in France. Even in Germany, pace is slower than expected. The developmental stage is also affecting the speed.

 

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