The drive for renewables continues, to be sure. Last year $200 billion was invested in renewable electric generation, compared to just $5 billion in 2000. Costs of solar have come down substantially. But with that growth is coming greater recognition of the need for balance so that decarbonization benefits do not come at the price of economic competitiveness and jobs. It is here where the unconventional revolution—particularly shale gas—may go global as a lower-cost, lower-carbon companion to renewables in power generation.
Market forces and government policy will be crucial in finding that balance. And innovation—with its power to increase efficiencies, lower costs and create new possibilities—will be indispensable.
The new competitive landscape—with energy at its center—will influence the course of the global economy for years to come. The impact of this competition—among fuels, technologies, investments and certainly among nations and how companies and nations navigate it—is what leaders from energy, policy, technology and financial communities from around the world are beginning to discuss.
—By Daniel Yergin, vice chairman of IHS and author, most recently, of "The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World." He is the chair of this week's IHS CERAWeek conference on Energy and the New Global Competition in Houston, bringing together more than 2,800 energy thinkers from 50 countries.
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