Solar and wind energy are passing a tipping point

I think at long last, we are passing a tipping point on renewable energy, in particular solar and wind energy. The article below references it more as a turning point, but the public and industry are seeing the dividends that are presented with healthier and environmentally safer energy, which also is producing jobs. Further, the cost of production is falling so dramatically, it is close to being on par with other sources. And, when the cost of water loss, clean-up, maintenance, healthcare, environmental degradation, and litigation are valued for fossil fuel produced energy, the comparative cost of renewable energy is even more compelling.

Please do read the attached article called “Solar and wind just passed another big turning point.” But, keep the following tidbits in mind as you do:

  • Amazon, Facebook, Google and other companies that manage electricity intensive data centers are powering them with solar energy.
  • Aldi, IKEA, Target and Walmart and other cost-conscious retailers are powering (or have significant targets to power) stores with solar energy.
  • 10% of the power produced in the oil-rich state of Texas comes from wind-energy. An even higher percentage of power is produced by wind energy in Iowa. Ranchers and farmers like leasing vertical space to wind mills, with some North Carolina farmers getting $5,000 per windmill per year.
  • The City of Burlington, VT is 100% powered by renewable energy. They have not had a utility rate increase for consumers in five years.
  • At the end of last year, there were 170,000 US solar energy jobs, which have been growing at double-digit rates for the past several years.
  • In a recent survey of Republican voters by ClearPath a conservative group, 75% favored greater use of renewable energy and 56% said climate change was real and man-influenced. A group called Conservatives for Clean Energy is very active in the push for renewable energy, so this is more than a progressive voter issue.
  • Finally, we need to be more concerned by the use of water in the energy acquisition and creation process. Fossil and nuclear fuel have to boil water into steam to turn the turbines which turn the generators. Although the process is usually repeated, the water that is eventually released into the river source has diminished. Plus, fracking uses a huge amount of water that cannot go back into the system with its added fracking chemical toxins.

Thanks for your interest and sharing my concerns and hopes.

12 thoughts on “Solar and wind energy are passing a tipping point

    • Thanks Hugh. We all need to be. It is interesting when you listen to leaders outside of the US speak about climate change, it is matter of fact and part of a conversation around acting about it. Christine LaGarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund said income inequality, climate change and women inequality were the three most important issues to the IMF.

  1. Note to Readers: The link to the article is a quick read. If you don’t get a chance, two highlights. Wind energy is now cheaper to produce in the US, UK and Germany than fossil fuel sources. Solar energy is still more expensive in the US, but is anticipated to reach a cross over point in 2018. It is already cheaper in Germany and in the UK.

    The other comments is about the term “virtuous cycle.” Once built, you need not spend more money to produce solar and wind power. With a fossil fuel plant, to create electricity, you still have to feed the beast to boil the steam.

  2. Its great to see US doing so well on this. Here in UK renewable energy is growing – whether you believe in climate change or not as man made we only have one planet and we have to look after it. Its not just energy but the whole waste phenomenon too. That old phrase “leave nothing but footprints ” should be a mantra for everyone. Sadly too many are too lazy to make the effort. We’ve just had a 5p bag charge introduced in England ( though many companies have been doing it awhile ) and its incredible listening to the moans. Is it really that hard taking your own bags? Something we used to do when i was a kid and there were no free bags. likewise switching off unnecessary electrics (PCs Monitors etc) and putting stuff in the recycling bins local councils provide. And my pet hate – take your rubbish home, don’t throw it away!

    • Jeannie, many thanks for your comments. To me, the argument over saving our water takes equal precedence to climate change. To your point, there is no Planet B. We must take care of the one we have doing small, medium and large scale things. The grocery bag issue is small step for one person, but is huge when added up. Not buying bottled water is another, as that plastic does not get recycled enough and it takes energy to make it. Supporting local and urban farmers is another along with not throwing away good food, because of its imperfect appearance. Thanks for stopping by and your attention to these important issues. Keith

  3. Note to Readers: I did not want to distract from the main message, but in this footnote want to mention the decline in oil prices. In my reading, there are two major causes – supply and demand. On the former, there is an oil glut in the world, which will only be increased when the sanctions are removed from Iran. On the latter, the demand is lessening with people buying new vehicles that have the higher mpg requirements, energy conservation efforts and increasing use of renewable energy. I think energy companies have been investing more in renewable energy, but that slope will tilt upward given this concept of a virtuous cycle where energy is not needed to create energy with renewables.

  4. Note to Readers: 81 US companies such as Alcoa, Bank of America, Coca-Cola, Facebook, General Motors, Google, Kelloggs, McDonalds and Nike have signed the pledge to support efforts to combat climate change in advance of the United Nations Climate Change Conference this month. Here is a link to an article which lists the companies:

  5. Note to Readers: There have been some interesting developments in a wind intensive area of California called the Altamont Pass, where windmills have been in place since the 1980s. Working with wildlife biologists, two of the companies there are replacing less efficient older wind mills with fewer in number, taller wind mills, which have already shown a significant lessening of bird deaths. For example, EDF Renewable Energy is replacing 300 old wind mills with 10 – 12 new ones which will provide similar or more power. The biologists have also worked with the placement which have reduced some birds of prey death to zero. One company that had been slow to act has decided to close its older wind mills permanently rather risk more bird deaths. To me, seeing the wildlife and energy folks working together toward a common goal is exhilarating. Here is an article that tells more:

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