Solar power investments will overtake upstream oil investments for the first time this year, Fatih Birol, the International Energy Agency (IEA) executive director, told Anadolu in an exclusive interview.
Furthermore, he stated that by 2030, global solar investments could well be a serious competitor to both oil and gas investments.
He noted that the pace of the clean energy transition across the world has been 'head spinning', as countries increase their investment in clean energy technologies, driven by lower costs and energy security concerns.
He argued that countries see clean energy technologies as a 'remedy' to energy security concerns rather than depending on other countries for oil and gas supplies.
'I believe the clean energy technologies will grow faster as the costs fall and the nations' deployments in the field heighten,' he said.
Investments in clean energy technologies are expected to exceed $1.7 trillion this year, relative to the lesser sum of $1.1 trillion for fossil fuels.
However, solar energy investments alone, at $380 billion, will surpass oil production investments for the first time across the globe, the IEA's recent investment report showed.
The IEA's medium-term oil report shows global upstream investments in oil and gas exploration, extraction and production are expected to reach $528 billion this year, out of which $371 billion will be for oil production.
'The potential growth of solar energy is immense. Electricity demand is increasing very quickly, especially in developing countries. The question is how the growing demand will be met. Solar power is the most important candidate in this case,' Birol said.
He expects that solar power investment will be an important rival not only for oil but also for natural gas in terms of investment and use by 2030, given that solar power offers the lowest cost now for 95% of new power plants to be installed globally.
However, Birol cautioned about the need to expand the grid network in parallel with growing clean power investments.
He described the scenario as 'like you are developing the best car in the world but forgetting to build the roads.'
- Energy crisis far from over
Birol also addressed recent developments in the global energy crisis, stressing that it is far from over.
He noted that the upcoming winter and China's escalating liquefied natural gas (LNG) demand are among the significant factors that could impact the energy crisis.
He warned that Europe should not be complacent in the face of escalating demand from China, which could leave Europe with supply deficiencies while potentially facing harsh winter conditions.
Reporting by Nuran Erkul in Paris
Writing by Duygu Alhan