Since 2010, the costs of producing electricity from solar photovoltaic systems have decreased by more than 80%. Wind and solar now vie with natural gas to provide new electricity generating capacity. To some, these trends signal the world’s latest energy transition: away from fossil fuels and toward a renewable future. The big picture: These historical changes in the energy system, however, have been a matter of addition, not transition. Although the percentage shares of biomass, coal and oil in our energy supply have fallen with the rise of alternatives, their total use continues to grow. The world has never experienced an energy transition, but the challenge of climate change means that, for the first time, one will need to begin.
Axios 17th Aug 2018 read more »
We’ve known for a few years now that solar power is surging in the U.S. and the rest of the world: costs have been falling for a while and countries like the United States, China, and India have been building so many solar panels that solar was the world’s fastest growing energy source in 2016. But thanks to a recently-published report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, we now know the full extent of that trend. The EIA report looks at the costs and spread of energy sources like solar, wind, and natural gas from 2013 to 2016. Over this three year period, the report finds that natural gas costs stayed roughly flat, and wind got slightly cheaper. The standout statistic, however, is the change in the cost of solar panels over those three years. In 2013, the cost per kilowatt of solar power hovered around $3,700, significantly pricier than the other two options. But by 2016, the cost had dropped by about a third, to less than $2,500 per kilowatt. That price also doesn’t take into account various federal, state, and local incentives for building new solar plants, so the real cost to utilities is likely even less.
Popular Mechanics 10th Aug 2018 read more »