Many of us have been involved with the renewable energy industry for any length of time, have watched the ingenuity with which it has developed itself to become economically viable, notwithstanding the withdrawal of subsidies. The general feeling has been growing for some time that we must now be reaching, or perhaps already passed, the point at which it is simply a better investment for reasons entirely disconnected from environmental impact.
The publication today of a new peer-reviewed study by Oxford University researchers, in the journal Joule, addresses that very neatly. The study draws together the falling costs of key forms of renewable energy production per unit of energy output. It weighs those against the costs for each of oil, coal and gas, showing that investment in the fossil fuels results in unpredictable returns when compared with renewables.
Its conclusion is that renewable energy is worth investing in for the sake of the planet and a better investment on a straightforward pound-for-pound basis.
What makes this more remarkable is that this conclusion was based on data obtained prior to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and its impact on fuel prices.
As a lawyer who has spent more than two decades working on renewable energy projects, and who is always hoping to get involved with more, it could be seen as self-serving to point out academic research that highlights what a great investment such projects are. Yes, it is, but this time on a far deeper level. As a creature hoping to live in a world without catastrophic climate change impacts, anything that signals that investment in renewable energy is a better bet than 'business as usual', is good news.