Tom Randall writes in Bloomberg.com about the changes now occurring in the energy business. Since we have built a society that is totally dependent on cheap energy, and lots of it, when a changeover starts to happen it’s probably a good idea to pay attention.
In the article, you’ll find pointers to the massive opportunities that exist as we transition away from fossil fuels and towards other sources of energy. The prize is there, and the question is whether we will be smart enough to head that direction, or keep on spending our money and time on building fossil fuel facilities and supporting extraction. The prize is in basic research, industrial device production, massive installations, control system development, industrial process switchover — this list could get long.
And, of course, there’s this climate change thing too.
Wind and Solar Are Crushing Fossil Fuels
Record clean energy investment outpaces gas and coal 2 to 1
Meanwhile, fossil fuels have been getting killed by falling prices and, more recently, declining investment. It started with coal—it used to be that lower prices increased demand for fossil fuels, but coal prices apparently can’t fall fast enough. Richer OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries have been reducing demand for almost a decade. In China, coal power has also flattened. Only developing countries with rapidly expanding energy demands are still adding coal, though at a slowing rate. . . .
. . . . The best minds in energy keep underestimating what solar and wind can do. Since 2000, the International Energy Agency has raised its long-term solar forecast 14 times and its wind forecast five times. Every time global wind power doubles, there’s a 19 percent drop in cost, according to BNEF, and every time solar power doubles, costs fall 24 percent.