Sunday, October 2, 2016
More clean energy news
Here's another chart showing the rapid price drop in clean energy sources. If you haven't checked out prices of clean energy within the last six months, your information is out of date. Things are changing that fast.
The Achilles heal of alternative energy has always been storage. My own house system still uses old style lead acid batteries, a technology basically unchanged in over 100 years. Now there are battery options that make sense for balancing grid power -something many thought would never happen.
Few people realize how fast the energy landscape is changing. In five years it will be a different world. That does not bode well for coal and oil production. Coal especially is in trouble as it's used extensively to generate electricity. Liquid fuels still have a huge role to play in transportation, but even that market is under threat.
That's not to say the coal and oil markets will completely disappear. If nothing else they are important sources for a variety of chemicals. Some will argue that those chemicals are too important to waste burning them for fuel. At any rate, the demand for coal and oil will go down significantly.
If you live in coal or oil country you might want to consider alternatives. It's going to be tough for a lot of workers. Believe me, having grown up in a dying mill town I know how that feels.
On a personal level, I've been playing with alternative energy for over 20 years. Today I volunteered to help install a grid tied solar electric system. It's a good way for me to learn what today's technology looks like. The system is going on a large warming hut for a local cross country ski club. Grid tied makes sense in this case. While the hut is only used in the winter, it will generate power all year long. The summer energy credits can be used in the winter when it's needed for heat. Should be interesting.
There are going to be plenty of winners and losers. Some industries, like coal, have already lost. Why would someone invest in a coal burning plant when something like a wind or solar plant can harvest free power?
I'm going to have to stop calling it “alternative energy.” It's already mainstream in some areas and those areas will continue to expand.