Something that we all have been waiting for is beginning to happen.
Sheikh Zaki Yamani, one of the most famous Middle East officials Saudi Arabian who served as his country’s oil minister three decades ago, famously said, “The Stone Age did not end for lack of stone, and the Oil Age will end long before the world runs out of oil”.
Well, what he meant was that the advancement of technologies would ensure that non-fossil sources will become more economical than oil, thereby making the world stop relying on oil, even if there were enough oil left in the world.
Three decades since he said that, the world is still addicted to oil (and coal and natural gas), but the last few years have seen some significant shifts happen in the move to renewables. One of the main reasons has not really been technological advancement (though it might have had a relatively smaller role), but the difficulty in finding and procuring fossil resources. These resources are still available in plenty for sure, but it is becoming more costly and more difficult to access them.
It was thus interesting for me to read when the power unit of Tata Group, India’s biggest, said its new investments will favor wind and solar farms over coal-fired projects which have become “impossible” to develop.
Tata Group is focusing on new clean-energy investments as coal-powered projects face fuel shortages in India and environmental hurdles in the U.S. and Europe, said a top executive from the firm.
“Why would anyone want to invest at this stage in a coal project?” he said in an interview. “Investment has stopped”.
Let’s hope this is the beginning of the end for fossil fuels, and the beginning of a new paradigm that will motivate renewable energy investments. If it is impossible to develop fossil fuel projects any more, well, the money will have to flow into something not fossil fuels, right?