Scientists have launched a US$150 billion project – self-described as this century’s moon-landing challenge – aimed to reducing the cost of new build renewable energy plants to lower than new build coal power plants by as early as 2020.
The 10-year program, aptly named Global Apollo Programme to Combat Climate Change, will research renewables, energy storage, and smart grid technologies. The idea is to assemble an international “task force” of researchers, entrepreneurs, and government officials to tackle the challenge.
“There is a looming catastrophe that can be avoided,” said an Apollo founder and former chief scientific advisor to the UK government David King. “What we need to do is create clean energy that is less costly than fossil energy, and once we get to that point, we’re winning all battles.”
The project has already secured interest from a number of countries, including India, China, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, the US and the United Arab Emirates. However, the project won’t announce its formal membership until November, ahead of the UN’s climate change talks in Paris.
As part of the project’s description, Apollo’s participating countries will have to commit an average of 0.02% of their GDP from 2016 to 2025 to fund research (mostly) within their own boundaries.
“This challenge is at least as big as the challenge of putting a man on the moon,” another Apollo founder and the director of the Wellbeing Programme at the London School of Economics’ Centre for Economic Performance Richard Layard to Bloomberg. “We don’t think that this problem can ultimately be cracked unless we reduce the cost of clean energy below that of dirty energy.”
Source: Global Apollo Programme