With not a hint of irony, Anglo-Swiss commodity traders Glencore declared last week that renewable energy won’t be cost-competitive with fossils until mid-century and forecast that global coal demand will grow 7% by 2030.
“The investment we put in the ground today will come out in 10 years,” Glencore Chairman Tony Hayward told the Institute of Directors’ annual conference in London last week. “The same applies to the world’s oil and gas companies—their investments will come out in 20 years.”
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He conceded that “in 15 years‘ time, if someone really does achieve a technologicalbreakthrough akin to a mobile phone, an iPhone, that will change the energy picture going forward.”
But Hayward, chair of oil explorer Genel Energy and former CEO of British Petroleum, predicted that renewable energy sources “won’t achieve cost parity with fossil fuels until 2051,” Reuters reports.
Energy executives who heard the speech had different ideas.
“Wilfrid Petrie, UK and Ireland chief executive at French gas and power group Engie, said he thought it would be as early as in five years‘ time,” Reuters notes. “David Brooks, managing director of supply at UK renewable energy supplier Good Energy, said it could happen by 2020, adding that wind was already at cost parity with fossil fuels.”
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