Renewables Are Putting an End to the World as We Know It. And I Feel Fine

In yesterday’s weekly news roundup I referenced a Reuters article that notes how renewables are turning the traditional energy utilities into “dinosaurs of the energy world”, as decentralised renewables are turning consumers into producers and thus chip away at the utilities’ centralised production model.

And then I came across this article by Ashley Seager: “Renewable energy is clean, cheap and here – what’s stopping us?” Do read the whole piece, it’s worth it. Seager notes that only three years ago his company was paying about €3,600 per installed kilowatt of solar capacity on barn roofs in Germany while today it can be done for just over €1,000 – “a staggering 70% fall”. Solar is almost at a stage where it doesn’t need a guaranteed price. In addition to taking away market shares from the big utilities, solar is also driving down daytime peak power prices, which the utilities hate even more, because this is where they make their money. Here’s a more detailed article on this phenomenon with some nifty charts: “Why generators are terrified of solar”.

And, ” Onshore wind, on a piece of land not constrained by years of planning delays, is already the cheapest form of energy on earth. These are not wild claims – those are figures from General Electric, Citibank and others.”

In sum,

“Renewables have seen such dramatic price falls in the past few years that they are threatening to upset the world as we know it and usher in an almost unprecedented boom in the spread of cheap, clean, home-produced energy.”

Which reminded me of the gem by R.E.M. below. All in all, a much-needed mood-booster as we head into another grueling two weeks of UN climate negotiations in the greatest hotel on Earth.

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