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Really, really, REALLY great news (#solar #wind, #pv #WarOnCoal in PRC, …)

May 27th, 2017 · 1 Comment

This guest post from Martin Smith provides a taste (and, truly, just a taste)  of the things happening around the world, related to clean energy and reducing fossil foolish dependences. If Team Trump would get their minds out of promoting 19th century energy, leveraging knowledge of 20th century energy, and turn to 21st century realities — they could put in place policies that would leverage the amazing solar, wind, efficiency, etc advances to truly #MAGA (economically and in terms of world standing).

This may sound a wee bit melodramatic but something just happened that changes everything. The discovery of fire, the wheel, electricity and fossil fuels, combined with our self-destructive nature, actually doomed mankind and the earth to extinction. In the past few years we pushed our atmosphere beyond a sustainable level of CO2 (400ppm). Our planet is hanging on by a thread.

But something truly amazing just happened.

In January 2017, China announced the cancellation of 104 new coal-fired power plants, which would have produced about the same amount of coal electricity currently produced in the United States.

 

China Cancels 104 Coal Plants

India just announced on Monday May 22, that it has canceled 14 gigawatts of coal-fired plants, about the same as the amount currently produced in the U.K.

India Cancels Coal Power Stations as Solar Prices Hit Record Low

These are world changing, historic developments and it’s not because China and India have a new found respect for the environment. It’s because the cost of utility-scale solar energy fell below the cost of coal for the first time in 2016, and it’s still falling.

Solar Was the Cheapest Source of Electricity in 2016

And then, this happened. Tucson Electric just signed a record power purchase agreement to buy solar power at under 3 cents per kilowatt hour ($30 per megawatt hour). This cut U.S. solar prices in half, well below any other available source. The average U.S. residential price for electricity is nearly 13 cents per kWh, and the average commercial price is 10.5 cents per kWh.

Arizona utility signs record deal, cutting US solar power prices in half

Millions of activists have been pushing hard for decades, but could barely slow the growth of coal. But now the ground has shifted. Even large investment firms like Goldman Sachs are pushing investors into clean energy. This is opening up capital markets and helping proven green technology scale up.

So the world is saved but only if enough of us pitch in to help push us over the top. To survive, we have to reduce our atmospheric CO2 to about 350 ppm. We are at a significant and positive tipping point. We no longer have to appeal to people’s better angels and hope they grow a conscience. We just have to let more people know what is happening and get more people to help. Everyone likes great news! Tell your friends, tell your neighbors, tell your family. We can do this!

2016 was first year wind and solar came in lower than coal and natural gas

The cost of wind and solar has dropped dramatically over the past seven years

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Tags: coal · Energy · solar · wind power

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 John Egan // May 31, 2017 at 7:25 pm

    “This may sound a wee bit melodramatic but something just happened that changes everything. The discovery of fire, the wheel, electricity and fossil fuels, combined with our self-destructive nature, actually doomed mankind and the earth to extinction. In the past few years we pushed our atmosphere beyond a sustainable level of CO2 (400ppm). Our planet is hanging on by a thread.”

    It’s more that a wee bit melodramatic. 200 mya the Earth had 5X the present CO2 levels and 500 mya it had 20X the present CO2. Sorry, but the planet is not hanging by a thread.

    Agree. The Earth won’t disappear due to climate change. Humanity faces a risk (can argue how large a risk but very plausible case can be made that there is a risk) for an extinction-like event.

    Note that this was ‘guest post’ … should have edited that … but just wanted to have something on the dramatic advances going on in the renewable space in terms of penetration/pricing.

    It may dramatically alter habitats for many species – including humans – but such has happened many times before. Please, try to keep it to the science – not the emotion.

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