Division over cost competitiveness of renewables

The Institute of Directors annual conference in London this week heard differences of opinion on when renewable energy was likely to make parity with fossil fuels in terms of cost competitiveness.

Anglo-Swiss mining giant Glencore’s chairman Tony Hayward said he didn’t see renewables capable of meeting the feat by mid-century, much later than energy organisations have forecasted.
Tony Hayward
According to Mining Weekly the company maintains such reasoning valid in terms of ongoing investment in coal and forecast global demand will grow by 7 per cent by 2030, driven by emerging economies and industrial demand.

"The investment we put in the ground today will come out in ten years. The same applies to the world's oil and gas companies - their investments will come out in 20 years," Hayward said, going on to add that renewables won't achieve cost parity with fossil fuels until 2051.

"In 15 years' time, if someone really does achieve a technological breakthrough akin to a mobile phone, an iPhone, that will change the energy picture going forward," he said.

Other energy company chiefs speaking at the event did not share the former BP boss's opinion.

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, whereas David Brooks, MD 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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