Fossil fuel energy may have seen a global turning point

Earlier this week, Reuters in the UK posted an article called “Fossil fuels for power at turning point as renewable surged in 2019 – data.” A link to the article is below. A few excerpts from the article are telling:

“The use of fossil fuels such as coal and oil for generating electricity fell in 2019 in the United States, the European Union and India, at the same time overall power output rose, a turning point for the global energy mix. Those countries and regions are three of the top four largest producers of power from fossil fuels. The declines suggest the end of the fossil fuel era could be on the horizon, said Tomas Kaberger, an energy professor at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden, who provided the power generation data to Reuters.

Kaberger, who is also the chair of the executive board for Japan’s Renewable Energy Institute and a member of the board at Swedish utility Vattenfall AB, provided data covering more than 70% of the world’s power generation that showed for most of 2019 the amount of power sourced from fossil fuels dropped by 156 terawatt hours (TWh) from the year before. That is equal to the entire power output of Argentina in 2018.

The data also indicates that renewable power generation increased at a faster rate than the overall growth in power output for the first time, rising by 297 TWh versus 233 TWh for overall output, Kaberger said.

‘It is economics driving this as low-cost renewable electricity outcompetes against fossil and nuclear power plants,’ said Kaberger.”

The last quote from Kaberger is extremely important. The economics of renewables relative to their fossil fuel counterparts are driving the movement. The argument that renewables cost more is not relevant any more. And, when you factor in the present value of all costs – acquisition, transport, environmental degradation, production, water loss, health, storage, maintenance and litigation – renewables beat the pants off fossil fuel energy.

So, when you hear fossil fuel arguments such as cost, use the above example. When you hear fossil fuel arguments such as jobs, solar and wind energy jobs are growing at double digit rates. The big picture question is if we can use a non-polluting, renewable energy at the same or better cost, and create jobs, is that not the best path forward?

8 thoughts on “Fossil fuel energy may have seen a global turning point

  1. This, my friend, is the best news I’ve heard all week!!! We are winning the war, despite king Trump employing every dirty trick in the book! YES!!! Thank you for sharing this one, Keith! Good news indeed!

    • Jill, even Trump’s bluster on coal cannot alter the economics or its demise. People in leadership positions in coal producing states need to shoot straight with coal miners. Keith

      • Having spent most of my married life in Wise County, Virginia, a coal mining community, I have many friends whose fortunes were tied to coal, and who are now bitter and left out in the cold as mines shut down and they are not trained for any other skill. The writing has been on the wall for years, but … nobody wanted to admit it.

      • Jill, I feel for these people. They were let down by their coal-funded leaders. This demise has been apparent for about ten years, so plans could have been made and executed. NC has fueled a solar energy push with incenting legislation, some dating back to 2007. Even though one incentive expired under a GOP led General Assembly, the Amazon, Google, Facebook, etc. data centers continued to drive it. Now, NC is second to California in solar. Keith

    • Hugh, that is true, but now the incentive to do the right thing. For the longest time, the fossil fuel portrayed those in poverty as paying higher costs under renewables. That specious argument is now not valid. People in poverty actually suffer worse under the vagaries of climate change. Keith

  2. Pingback: And About Planet Earth … | Filosofa's Word

    • Thanks for the reblog. This message needs to get out more. With less travel with the coronavirus, next year’s differential will be even larger. Keith

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