Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The Clean Energy Revolution May Be Closer Than You Think

I hate to interrupt your regularly-scheduled despair about global warming but the clean energy revolution may be imminent. Two new reports, one on wind, one on solar, indicate that the radical cheapening of clean energy is likely to continue--and that is huge, if true. Here's David Roberts of Vox from his summary of the two reports:
Solar and wind energy have been underestimated by analysts and politicians again and again and again. They have gotten cheaper and scaled up faster than even the most optimistic forecasts of a decade ago, or even a few years ago.
And there’s good evidence we’re still underestimating them. In fact, two new reports — one on solar, one on wind — make the point vividly. They argue that the radical trends of the last decade are going to continue, which is all that needs to happen for the energy system to tip over from disruption into revolution……
It’s a little odd. Both of these reports offer forecasts that are wildly optimistic relative to the mainstream modeling community, but it’s not because they predict wind and solar are going to have some unprecedented explosion.
They simply predict that wind and solar are going to keep doing what they’re doing — keep scaling up, keep improving, keep getting cheaper — at roughly the same rate they have been. If that happens, solar PV could provide 30 to 50 percent of global power. If that happens, wind power could be 50 percent cheaper by 2030.
If those things happen, if the status quo continues, it will amount to a renewable energy revolution.
So there you have it. Now you may return to your usual state of barely-suppressed panic.

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