Clean energy costs continue to decline

An article posted today from Grist and Clean Choice Energy clearly shows the continued decline in clean energy costs relative to other sources and both how Coronavirus is accelerating the demand for clean energy and what we can all do to help.

Mid-day update: there was another publication from IEA (International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2020), but there’s a price to read it. I followed up w/ contents at – both confirming that solar is now the cheapest electricity, quote: “The world’s best solar power schemes now offer the “cheapest…electricity in history” with the technology cheaper than coal and gas in most major countries.”

A chart showing the change in U.S. cost of energy, relative to 2010

It seems to me that this reframes the discussion from what energy source is best for all (environmental justice) to what is best and cheapest. Who can argue against both points?

The Corona virus pandemic has accelerated this move as the authors point out, quote: “To see the potential of the opportunity before us, we only need to look as far back as 2009. When Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act — the main piece of legislation following the Great Recession — nobody could have conceived of the ripple effects for clean energy that would follow. Seriously: prior to the Recovery Act, energy watchers expected wind capacity to rise to a little more than 30 gigawatts by 2018. Instead, it reached three times that figure, as illustrated by the steep angle of the blue line in the graph below. Solar capacity, hardly projected to reach one gigawatt, blew past forecasts by 3,000 percent.”

A chart showing the projected vs. actual generating capacity of wind and solar

The authors ended with a call to action that all can follow, quote: “Everyone uses energy, which means everyone can pitch in to shift away from fossil fuels. From signing up for community solar to talking to your neighbors about clean energy to leasing your own land for solar farms, there are dozens of ways to get involved in the transition. You can ask your utility about renewable energy programs: In many states, you can opt into renewable energy to power your home. If you’re a homeowner, you can also seek out solar tax credits. You can choose to patronize businesses that use renewable energy, and you can write your representatives and ask them to prioritize it. Heck, you can build your own microgrid.

At the energy crossroads, you get to pick your path. In a world of so much uncertainty, a little agency feels good.”

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