Oil and gas spending will likely rise a bit with the post-pandemic economic recovery, but the gap to renewables will continue to narrow as oil companies contend with the long-term contraction of their market. Since the beginning of 2020, leading oil majors have written down the value of their fossil-producing assets by more than $100 billion, according to a March report from the International Energy Agency. Companies like Exxon or Aramco that aren’t working to diversify into other forms of energy are focusing on their lowest-cost sources of production and not hunting for new sources.

Renewables, however, are in a period of rapid growth as costs fall and demand surges for zero-carbon electricity. A separate forecast in January from the firm IHS Markit projected that the global capacity of wind and solar power could exceed natural gas by 2023. If the age of fossil fuel exploration is ending, the age of Big Renewables is just beginning.

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