Green markets, in particular renewable and alternative energy, stand poised to grow into a $1 trillion market by 2030 according to analysis by Morgan Stanley.
A report on Thursday in Reuters said the world market for “green” energy – including solar, wind, biomass. biofuels, tidal, and geothermal – is likely to face exponential growth in the coming decades in response to rising prices for oil and concerns over security and the environmental costs of fossil fuel.
Adding to the optimism, Greenpeace and the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC) envisions a world run on 50% renewable energy by 2050. Currently, renewable energy accounts for 13.2 percent of global supply.
While nobody denies the fundamental risks with a continued (and growing) reliance on fossil fuel, it is no surprise that not everyone shares this optimism.
Raining on the Optimists Parade
The International Energy Agency (IEA) has a much more sober assessment of the role renewable energy will play in the next three or four decades, with a marginal increase in global supply to only 13.7 percent. The IEA forecasts oil and gas continuing to play the dominate role in meeting energy demand for the foreseeable future.
Both assessments are based on wildly divergent assumptions about how the world situation plays out in the coming years.
It is clear that energy demand will continue to rise. There are, of course, a variety of factors that will play into any future scenario for our global energy economy and which set of assumptions, the optimistic or the sober, that will most resemble reality.
Business and consumers play an important part in shaping that future reality. Key market motivators are how well we incorporate energy efficiency into our professional and personal lives and how much we demand that the energy we do consume come increasingly from alternative sources.
Inherent in that is also a willingness to pay an initial premium for alternative energy. As technology advances, infrastructure rolls out, and markets adjust to incorporate the true environmental cost of continued reliance on fossil fuel, alternative energy will make both economic and environmental sense; well worth the initial cost.
It’s a good time to be an optimist.