Clean Energy Prices Keep Falling
Back in the1970s, when people started talking about clean energy as a response to dependency on foreign oil, it was difficult to imagine that clean energy would become mainstream, mass-produced and affordable. The technology and infrastructure for wide-scale adoption did not exist - a substantial barrier for all but the most committed.
Well, it’s a whole new world. Groundbreaking advances in technology have profoundly changed the way we use phones, share information, take pictures and listen to music, among many other things. We’ve seen the same mind-blowing advances in the technology needed to generate, distribute and conserve energy as we’ve seen in so many other fields.
And now, “the clean energy sector” is a thing. And it’s booming.
Innovation and technology improvements are two of the factors behind a trend that has been widely reported in 2014: the price of wind, solar and other clean energy technologies has been dropping steadily over the last decade. In the last few years, that trend has accelerated dramatically.
- In September, the global financial advisory firm Lazard reported that utility scale solar and wind power is steadily becoming cost-competitive with coal and nuclear fuel, even without subsidies.
- In October, a report from the U.S. Department of Energy, NREL and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory showed that in 2013 prices for distributed solar PV dropped by between 12 and 19 per cent across the nation.
- Technology improvements have made wind turbines increasingly efficient, steadily driving down the cost of wind power, according to the Rocky Mountain Institute.
“We used to say some day solar and wind power would be competitive with conventional generation” says George Bilicic, global head of Power, Energy & Infrastructure at Lazard. “Well, now it is some day.”*
Crucial advances in clean energy technologies may get less publicity than smart phones, 3D printing, genome mapping and self-driving cars, but they are changing our world. We can’t wait for tomorrow.