I don’t mean wind and solar installations will magically appear, though it’s gonna seem like it. I don’t mean it will be ‘literally’ by the ‘hand of God’, as human hands and minds are doing the R&D. Though, as in Isaiah 66:2, “Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?” I mean it’s 2017 and wind and solar are already cheaper for generating electric power than coal and oil in many markets, and soon to be so in every market in the world.
In science-powered technological research, as old methods reach limits new breakthroughs, paradigms and technologies are developed. The price/performance of wind, solar and other renewable energy sources, as well as storage and delivery methods, have been improving at an accelerating rate, as new discoveries and efficiencies are made.
Wind and Solar Are Crushing Fossil Fuels: Record clean energy investment outpaces gas and coal 2 to 1. By Tom Randall. April 6, 2016, 5:00 AM EDT. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-04-06/wind-and-solar-are-crushing-fossil-fuels
Low Costs of Solar Power & Wind Power Crush Coal, Crush Nuclear, & Beat Natural Gas. December 25th, 2016 by Zachary Shahan. https://cleantechnica.com/2016/12/25/cost-of-solar-power-vs-cost-of-wind-power-coal-nuclear-natural-gas/
Solar can already generate more energy than oil, says major scientific review. And is twice as powerful than previously thought. Dec 8, 2016 by Nafeez Ahmed. https://medium.com/insurge-intelligence/solar-is-already-producing-more-energy-than-oil-says-major-scientific-review-873d5f779f03
The market share of solar has been doubling every two years since the 70’s as costs have been dramatically dropping over the same time period. Now solar is cheaper than coal and oil, at the same time that local generation and storage as well as city-power plants and grids have greatly improved with better improvements planned. If these remarkably consistent historical trends remain consistent, solar will have 100% of market share in 6 more doublings, 12 years from 2016 = 2028.
Futurist Ray Kurzweil Predicts Solar Industry Dominance In 12 Years –Trajectories Are Exponential. April 15th, 2016 by Cynthia Shahan. https://cleantechnica.com/2016/04/15/futurist-ray-kurzweil-predicts-solar-industry-dominance-12-years-trajectories-exponential/
This striking chart shows why solar power will take over the world. Michael Graham Richard. April 15, 2015. http://www.treehugger.com/renewable-energy/striking-chart-showing-solar-power-will-take-over-world.html
This is even more of a revolutionary game-changer in the developing world, allowing them to leapfrog ahead in the same way that digital computing, communications and network technologies have made many harmful social and industrial practices obsolete.
World Energy Hits a Turning Point: Solar That’s Cheaper Than Wind: Emerging markets are leapfrogging the developed world thanks to cheap panels. By Tom Randall. December 15, 2016, 1:00 AM EST December 15, 2016, 1:04 AM EST. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-12-15/world-energy-hits-a-turning-point-solar-that-s-cheaper-than-wind
It seems likely solar will not reach 100% market share, given that wind and other renewables are also making dramatic improvements in price-performance and market capture. What this means is that renewables will take over the world’s markets even sooner than 2028. And, this will be even while the dirty coal, oil and nuclear energy industries are heavily subsidized by governments worldwide.
Renewables will soon beat out these corporations on on cost-economics alone. And the competition they’ll be eliminating are public teat-sucking corporate welfare queens whose business model, government lobbying and electioneering promotes wasteful use of environmentally and socially (wars, etc.) destructive energy sources and methods. And, remember, the economic costs of coal, oil and nuclear are being calculated even without accounting for the environmental and social impacts.
Paying Too Much for Energy?. The True Costs of Our Energy Choices. Michael Greenstone & Adam Looney. MIT. http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1162/DAED_a_00143
Full cost accounting for the life cycle of coal. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. Issue: Ecological Economics Reviews. Paul R. Epstein, et al. http://www.chgeharvard.org/resource/full-cost-accounting-life-cycle-coal
The External Costs of Fossil Fuels; Environmental and Health Value of Solar. Matt Kasper. Energy and Policy Institute. http://www.energyandpolicy.org/value-of-solar-versus-fossil-fuels-part-two/
Mapping the Economics of U.S. Coal Power and the Rise of Renewables – An MIT Energy Initiative Working Paper March 2016. Joel Jean, David C. Borrelli, Tony Wu. [PDF] https://energy.mit.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/MITEI-WP-2016-01.pdf
The Hidden Costs of Fossil Fuels: The costs of coal, natural gas, and other fossil fuels aren’t always obvious—but their impacts can be disastrous. Union of Concerned Scientists. http://www.ucsusa.org/clean-energy/coal-and-other-fossil-fuels/hidden-cost-of-fossils
The Myth About Renewable Energy Subsidies. February 25th, 2016 by Giles Parkinson. https://cleantechnica.com/2016/02/25/the-myth-about-renewable-energy-subsidies/
The world can meet all human energy needs and mitigate serious impacts of human-caused global warming and ocean acidification by investing in renewable energy and improving efficiency.
New Report Finds Energy Efficiency is America’s Cheapest Energy Resource. American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. March 25, 2014. http://aceee.org/press/2014/03/new-report-finds-energy-efficiency-a
Study Finds Costs of Residential Energy Efficiency Investments are Double the Benefits. Chicago University Energy Policy Institute. June 23, 2015. https://epic.uchicago.edu/news-events/news/study-finds-costs-residential-energy-efficiency-investments-are-double-benefits.
Can the World Run on Renewable Energy? Apr 23, 2015. http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/can-the-world-run-on-renewable-energy/
Today’s Solar Panels Can Power The World, MIT Study Finds. May 14th, 2015 by Steve Hanley. https://cleantechnica.com/2015/05/14/todays-solar-panels-can-power-the-world-mit-study-finds/
NREL Renewable Electricity Futures Study. http://www.nrel.gov/analysis/re_futures/
- Renewable electricity generation from technologies that are commercially available today, in combination with a more flexible electric system, is more than adequate to supply 80% of total U.S. electricity generation in 2050 while meeting electricity demand on an hourly basis in every region of the country.
- Increased electric system flexibility, needed to enable electricity supply and demand balance with high levels of renewable generation, can come from a portfolio of supply- and demand-side options, including flexible conventional generation, grid storage, new transmission, more responsive loads, and changes in power system operations.
- The abundance and diversity of U.S. renewable energy resources can support multiple combinations of renewable technologies that result in deep reductions in electric sector greenhouse gas emissions and water use.
- The direct incremental cost associated with high renewable generation is comparable to published cost estimates of other clean energy scenarios. Improvement in the cost and performance of renewable technologies is the most impactful lever for reducing this incremental cost.
“You never change things by fighting against the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.” – Buckminster Fuller