Energy Future

Oil price won't influence transition to clean energy: CEO

Anmar Frangoul | Special to
Big debate is about losing coal and building gas: CEO
Big debate is about losing coal and building gas: CEO

The price of oil will not have much of an impact when it comes to the planet's transition to new, cleaner, sources of energy, according to the CEO of the Carbon Trust.

"It's interesting – a lot of the talk around oil and gas price volatility… you've got to remember, fundamentally, the price of the alternatives is coming down, they're becoming more cost competitive over time," Tom Delay told CNBC at the World Energy Congress in Istanbul.

"Oil price is one thing: it's not going to make any difference to the transition to a new world order in terms of… more energy efficiency, more renewables, solar coming down in cost, wind coming down in cost, that's a progressive that's happening at the moment," he added.

"The investment community is sitting out there, trying to judge the point at which they say 'well, hang on we believe in this new future'."

The potential of – and appetite for – renewable sources of energy does seem to be getting bigger.

A recent report from the World Energy Council found that renewable sources of power – including hydroelectric and solar – represent around 30 percent of the world's total capacity and 23 percent of total global electricity production.

"I think the fundamentals are there," Delay said, before going on to explain that new technologies in the lower carbon sector were coming down in cost "inexorably", a trend that would continue going forward.

"So, (the) oil price makes relatively little difference to the deployment of these new technologies," he added.

"One reason (is that) people really want them, demand is very interesting in this area… just think for a second about electric vehicles, they are becoming the norm."

The next big frontier for renewables would be smart grids and storage, Delay added, which would enable the transition to clean sources to take place.