July 2, 2020 Read More →

Pandemic pushes investors deeper into renewables as fossil fuels run out of steam

The Hill:

To paraphrase a famous “anchorman,” that de-escalated quickly.

Coal suffered a historic drop in usage last year. Buyers paid producers as much as $37 per barrel of crude oil in April. The price of plastics has fallen by roughly half over the last four years. 

The fossil fuel economy, which motored happily through one century, is quickly running out of steam. Gas, once considered a viable option to bridge the transition from “dirty” fossil fuels — such as coal and oil — to renewable energy, is now more likely to serve as the end of the fossil fuel era rather than the beginning of the renewable energy age. 

Originally hailed as a boon both for U.S. exporters and Asian economies, liquefied natural gas (LNG) prices have hit a 10-year low. Texas energy companies have found it’s cheaper to burn $750 million worth of gas than to try selling it. Also, the company that pioneered gas fracking, Chesapeake Energy Corp., filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this week.

Neither the oil nor gas industry’s woes are new. But the coronavirus pandemic, which is expected to shave roughly $8 trillion from the U.S. economy over the next decade, has thrown the troubles of the energy industry into high relief, forcing companies and investors to face reality and turn toward renewables.

[Dennis Wamsted]

More: Coronavirus accelerates global shift to cheaper, more sustainable renewable energy

Posted in: IEEFA In the News

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