A groundbreaking report out today shows huge capital-efficiency advantage of solar and wind over oil

In this potentially game-changing report, BNP Paribas introduces the concept of Energy Return on Capital Invested. Conclusion: “The economics of oil for gasoline and diesel vehicles versus wind- and solar-powered EVs are now in relentless and irreversible decline, with far-reaching implications for both policymakers and the oil majors.”

This really is seismic stuff, with huge implications for all the issues that depend on solar and other survival technologies accelerating faster and the incumbency fully retreating from their planet-wrecking civilisation-imperilling rearguard defence of oil and gas. This is a 4 minute slideshow summary for busy folk of this potentially game-changing report.

Those who would like the original powerpoint, with source urls as notes, can find it – with all my other source files, for free use – in .


  1. I notice that the study doesn’t take into account some additional costs of the oil infrastructure, for example how much do countries invest militarily in maintaining stability (I use that term loosely) in oil-producing regions of the world?

  2. It’s tempting to comment ‘a day late and half a dollar short’, since the concept of Energy Return on Capital Invested in relation to oil has been talked about elsewhere almost as long as Energy Returned on Energy Invested. And ultimately, capital is just another word for energy.

    Two points.

    First; until someone builds a self-replicating solar/wind power installation – i.e. one capable of powering all the processes, from mining to refining to smelting to transport to fabrication, needed to build and run itself with no fossil inputs – no-one will know what wind/solar really cost in hard energy terms.

    Second: A significant chunk of BNP Paribas’ business is vehicle leasing, where the current market is 95+ combustion vehicles leased for every new EV. One doesn’t have to be a genius to work out that mass private motoring was developed primarily as the most efficient means of turning concentrated energy from oil into living standards that are unbelievably high compared to those of pre-fossil societies that ran on ‘current account’ solar energy. Anyone who thinks green motoring will be anywhere as big as combustion motoring really isn’t connecting the dots.

    Having been in the auto industry for 30 years, I’m sure players like BNP Paribas have a very shrewd idea of how large (read: small) the private vehicle market will be when it’s fully electrified. But BNP et al will be very grateful for the opportunity finance all the combustion vehicles they can, down to the bitter end of oil-fired mass motoring. What you might like to think they mean when they say “far-reaching implications for both policymakers and the oil majors” is probably rather different from what they actually have in mind.

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