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Global energy crisis hastening end of fossil fuel dominance, says India

The global energy crisis is accelerating a shift to renewable sources and hastening the end of the dominance of fossil fuels, according to India’s Power and Renewable Energy Minister Raj Kumar Singh.

Renewables paired with energy storage are now cheaper than coal after the fuel’s price surged in recent months, while fossil sources are also experiencing a lack of investment in new production, Singh said Wednesday in a speech at the Sydney Energy Forum.

“This will actually hasten the energy transition,” Singh said. “Once you have round-the-clock renewables, that’s renewables plus storage, that are viable, then that’s the end of the story for fossil fuels.”

Turmoil in the global energy sector that’s triggered shortages in some nations and sent power and fuel prices soaring has multiple causes, and is not only the result of Russia’s war in Ukraine, according to Singh. 

“This is a crisis which has been in the making for some time” and exacerbated by issues including under-investment in supply and a push by producers to raise margins, he said. 

The energy crisis began about half a year before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine with shortages of coal, natural gas and then oil as a result of “preemptive underinvestment,” Daniel Yergin, vice chairman at S&P Global Inc., said at the conference.

“The next few months could get far worse,” Yergin said. “Partly because markets are so tight” and also because Vladimir Putin seeks to use natural gas as a weapon to create economic hardship, strengthen populist parties and weaken the alliance against his invasion of Ukraine, he said. 

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