The Cost Of Not Using Renewable Energy

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Not using renewable energy for electricity production is costing future generations over $9 billion a day – and that doesn’t costs associated with health impacts and climate change.

Solar naysayers have often used cost as a reason for not making the switch – an argument rapidly running out of steam given the plummeting prices of solar panels. Something else worth considering is the cost of not going solar.

For example, rapidly increasing electricity prices can make installing solar panels a better investment than putting money in the bank for many households.

But what about the bigger picture? How much will delaying renewable energy in reaching its potential now cost the world each year in the future? While renewable energy sources such as the wind and sun are comparatively inexhaustible; burning a lump of coal to create power is a single-use affair.

A recently released report from the World Future Council attempts for the first time to calculate the economic loss caused by the use of fossil fuels for energy production.

“Externalised costs from burning fossil fuels are incurred not only through damages from climate change but also through the lack of future availability of fossil raw materials consumed to meet our current energy demands, although alternatives exist,” states  political economist Dr. Matthias Kroll.

The report concludes that the future usage loss resulting from our current oil, gas and coal consumption is between 3.2 and 3.4 trillion US dollars per year – conservatively and based on current market prices.

“Protecting the use of increasingly valuable fossil raw materials for the future is possible by substituting these materials with renewables. Every day that this is delayed and fossil raw materials are consumed as one-time energy creates a future usage loss of between 8.8 and 9.3 billion US Dollars.”

The Monetary Cost of the Non-Use of Renewable Energies can be viewed in full here (PDF).