New Studies exhibits the True Costs of Fossil Fuels & Value of Solar Photovoltaics

Two new studies published in Review Journal (MRS E and S) MRS Energy and Sustainability, by Carol Olson and Frank Lenzmann emphasizes the true economic, social and environmental benefits of solar PV compared to fossil fuels, in regards to the supply chain of all relevant fuels.

In their new studies, Authors Carol Olson and Frank Lenzmann from Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands have co-written both the articles together, comparing the economics associated with all the major fuel supply chains, including coal, oil, nuclear, gas, and solar PV. The articles conclude that the current system is weighted heavily in favor of fossil and nuclear fuels at the expense of more sustainable energy sources-revealing that support for renewable energy sources is dwarfed in magnitude as well as in duration in comparison to the subsidies shoring up fossil and nuclear fuels.


Both the articles conclude that the current system is weighted heavily in favor of nuclear and fossil fuels, at the expense of better sustainable technologies such as solar Photovoltaics. The study also reveals that support for renewable energy provenance is dwarfed in magnitude as well as in duration in comparison to the subsidies shoring up nuclear and fossil and fuels.

Further, the timely analysis of the historical and current fossil fuel supply chain dispenses a useful perspective that challenges what authors refer to as the “limited frames of reference when addressing the consequences of business-as-usual operation of fossil fuel supply chains.” Author’s thorough research focus on the complete subsidy chain both for production and consumption of nuclear and fossil fuels so that it become, for the first time, to compare each energy option impartially, revealing the costs that have historically been hidden along the supply chain.

Authors also state that, “The entanglement of the fossil fuel supply industry, banks, commodity traders, and the financialization of commodities currently allows fossil fuel supply transactions to be made in non-competitive ways.”

“The immense capital available to those operating the fossil fuel supply chain affords not only economic advantages, but also allows them to side-step regulation.”

 Moreover, there are subsidies for production and shipping, not to forget the consumer subsidies for fossil fuels, all of which are often overlooked (or intentionally hidden) from public view during political discussion. On the flip side, renewable energy sources like solar photovoltaics are forever placed under the microscope, with every facet of subsidy and benefit subjected to overbearing scrutiny. Subsequently, according to Lenzmann and Olson research study, “The ‘true cost’ of electricity generation, including the environmental impacts, must be kept in sight.”

Policy makers should find methods to address the disparity of subsidized infrastructure, including the energy market, which gives advantages to the fossil fuel supply chain, and might obscure the economic advantages of renewable energy technologies, such as Solar Photovoltaics.

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