The cost of clean tech energy (wind and solar) keeps coming down. It used to be that clean energy had two problems – more costly, and more intermittent. The problem of being intermittent has yet to be overcome – its all about that storage and a smart grid – but wind and solar are on the verge of it being cheaper than coal, oil, gas, says the New York Times. That is a pretty big development.
Archive: Environment & Energy
I’ve written recently about how solar is getting cheaper and about how it may be growing too fast in the sense that the current energy grid and business systems cannot adjust quickly enough. But an interesting question is whether it would be possible to provide much, perhaps even most energy with solar by the end of the century. I believe this would be a good idea, and perhaps is even inevitable given the declining cost curve of solar, and the likely need to shift toward cleaner energy even if fossil fuels stay relatively abundant deep into the century. Here is an infographic that explores the capacity of solar to fulfill our energy needs that was sent to me yesterday. I think it undersells the challenge of building the energy grid and the storage systems that would make solar this feasible, but you will probably discover some facts you were unaware of as you explore the graphic.
Could The World Be 100% Solar? [Infographic] by the team at CashEuroNetUK, LLC
It takes just 9 seconds of sunlight to provide the equivalent energy generated by burning all the oil, coal and gas we destroy every 24 hours. And solar is getting cheaper, so cheap it will dominate future electricity generation. A clear trajectory toward solar is emerging. A Deutsche Bank report published this week says that solar will be as cheap or cheaper than other forms of electricity generation in 47 states by 2016, in 36 states even if current tax credits were reduced. Even today solar is at grid parity in 10 states. The International Energy Agency now predicts that solar will be the world’s biggest source of electricity by 2050. This is a difficult challenge for the currently centralized model of electricity generation.
Interesting that conversation is beginning to focus on whether solar energy and other renewables are growing too fast for the current electricity generating and grid system to cope with. The basic problem is that current generating capacity cannot be ramped up and down swiftly enough to accept huge amounts of renewable energy, and we still lack storage capacity for excess power generation. Predicted to be a bigger problem in the next 5 years or so, than in 15 years when there is more renewable energy and the system has adjusted.
Update June 30 – Solar Roadways made it, raising nearly $2.3 million. Thanks to all who helped. They really have a chance now to commercialize their vision.
I will leave this blog up a bit longer so you can watch this wonderful video. We will get back to some new blogs about the future in July.
10 days left to invest in Solar Freakin’ Roadways !!!!!
Go to Indiegogo and help now.