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The Renewable Energy Asset Rotation Cycle Is Stuck

Returns on solar and wind have gotten so good, buyers no longer want to let go.

Aerial Views Of Hamburg And Northern Germany As Greek Crisis Effects Investor Confidence
Photographer: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg

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The price tag for driving down global emissions in a major way is, as you can imagine, big. BloombergNEF calculates that meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement with a combination of zero-carbon electricity and hydrogen would require more than $60 trillion of power sector investment, plus more than $30 trillion of investment in hydrogen production and transport investment by 2050. Flex a few technical choices—such as switching over dedicated nuclear power plants to manufacturing hydrogen—and the total price tag is $100 trillion or more.