11 Jun $150 billion program to make clean energy cheaper than coal
A consortium of scientists and economists including former BP Chief Executive Officer John Browne are inviting Governments to join a $150 billion 10 year program to make clean energy cheaper than coal. Known as the Global Apollo Program to Combat Climate Change, it will fund research into renewable energy technologies, power storage and smart grid technologies to make them cheaper than fossil fuels. The Program aims to create an international task force consisting of scientists, entrepreneurs and policy makers.
At the announcement of the program in London, Apollo Founder and former Chief Scientific Advisor to the UK Government David King stated that the looming catastrophe can be avoided by creating clean energy that is less costly than fossil fuels and that once that was achieved, essentially the battles would be won.
A number of countries have expressed interest including India, China, Japan, Korea, Mexico, the United States and the United Arab Emirates. The members of the project will be publicised by November this year, which is timely given the United Nations talks in Paris in December.
The goal of the Apollo program is that what they call “new build” renewables are cheaper than “new build” coal plants in countries that have plentiful sunlight by 2020, and worldwide 5 years later. According to estimates from Bloomberg, generating electricity via solar technology costs approximately $136 per Megawatt hour on average compared to approximately $91 for coal at present.
Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide measurements are increasing by 2-3 parts per million each year and in March this year they exceeded 400 parts per million according to the United States Government. Concentrations of greenhouse gases need to peak at 450 parts per million this century in order to maximise the likelihood of limiting warming to 2°C. Apollo participants would be required to spend 0.02% of GDP from 2016-2025 (predominantly in their own country) to fund technological development. A Commission will be formed and include a representative from each member country, and a Roadmap Committee will produce a document outlining research and development opportunities that require attention.