Our returning guest in this episode, energy modeler Christopher Clack, says according to his recent modeling, that investing more into local solar will deliver more public benefits than investing in utility-scale projects.
The International Energy Agency (IEA), the Paris-based consortium of 30 countries, has told us in its flagship World Energy Outlook 2020 that solar-produced electricity is now the “cheapest electricity in history.” That seems like very good news, that is, until the actual expected impact of that fact is examined more closely.
Solar energy is a commodity that is produced, and that it requires extractive industries and chemical industries and landscapes, end of life management plans. It doesn’t inherently come with sustainability.
Beneath some solar arrays, pollinator-friendly plants, fruits, vegetables and forage are cropping up in place of turfgrass or gravel.
The increasingly competitive dynamic duo of solar photovoltaic plus battery storage is taking energy markets by storm. Utilities are increasingly looking at batteries as a tool for leveling out power available over the course of the day.
Is it wise to assume uninterrupted access to critical goods from faraway places? The recent decision by the U.S. International Trade Commission regarding imports of solar panels raises the question.
Asking if renewable energy can replace fossil energy implies that the only possible civilization is our civilization as it is nowadays, including SUVs parked on every driveway and vacation trips to Hawaii by plane for everyone. But keeping these incredibly expensive wastes of energy will obviously be impossible in the future, even imagining that we were able to stay with fossil fuels for another century or even more.
We are hitting something similar to “Peak Oil” right now.
The California legislature has sent a bill to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk that aims to extend the benefits of solar energy to communities that often have no access to clean energy technologies.
Another indication of how crazy this country has become: Some people are coming out against solar energy.
Is your home one of the millions that haven’t been able to get solar because you’re a renter? The good news is that policymakers are starting to look for creative ways to expand solar access.
We’ve reached a tipping point where fossil fuels will enter terminal decline, independently of climate policy action. Given climate policy action is also now accelerating, fossil fuels are double dead. To paraphrase Douglas Adams, “So long and thanks for all the energy”.