S&P Exec: Global Shift to Renewables Will Persist, All Politics Aside

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Sydney Morning Herald:The global shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy will continue regardless of political action such as President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the US from the Paris climate agreement or outbursts from ex-Australian prime ministers, a senior ratings analyst says.“The tide has turned,” said Michael Wilkins, the head of climate and environmental risks at Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings, adding the transition meant the economic viability of assets such as coal mines and coal-fired power stations would be “vastly impaired”.Mr Wilkins’ comments come as new S&P research points to deep falls in the costs of renewable energy as other groups report important shifts by corporations at home and abroad on climate risks.Mr Wilkins said investors, including in Australia, were increasingly demanding to know how companies were monitoring financial exposure to climate change – and what they were doing about the threats.The risks include challenges their businesses will face in a carbon-constrained world but also the physical damage posed by more extreme weather events as the planet heats up.Pressure for disclosure is only likely to increase as groups, such as the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosure, win the backing of the central banks of G20 nations. Mr Wilkins said it was understandable if commodity-based economies such as Australia moved slower than other nations but even here investors were starting to act. “Despite various U-turns in Australia politics on climate change topics, there is still a very progressive trend in Australia for sustainable finance and renewable energy,” Mr Wilkins told Fairfax Media during a visit to Sydney.Research out this month by S&P found the cost of new offshore wind farms had plunged 50 per cent since 2015 in the UK as developers rapidly learn how to overcome the challenges of the emerging sector.New wind farms were being developed at about £55 ($93) per megawatt-hour, far below the £92 /MW-hour locked in for 35 years for the UK’s controversial Hinkley Point nuclear power plant, he said.Solar photovoltaic costs, which have halved in the last few years, will fall another 35 per cent by 2020, Mr Wilkins predicted.“You could argue we’ve reached a tipping point,” he said, adding that with falling storage prices, intermittent energy sources could soon compete with traditional fossil-fuels on dispatchability grounds alone even without including their environmental advantages.More: ‘Tide has turned’: Global rating agency says climate economics trump politics S&P Exec: Global Shift to Renewables Will Persist, All Politics Asidelast_img

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