Cheap Electricity and Food

My Comments: Over the next 25 years, the US will resume it’s role as THE major global economic influence. You can argue it will happen as a result of bringing coal mining jobs back to Appalachia or because there will be a wall built along our Mexican border, one built by Mexico with help from China to keep Americans out, but it will happen.

Right now we’re the only industrialized nation on the planet with a food surplus. I’m reminded again of comments by Thomas P. M. Barnett several years ago. He said our ability to grow food and export our surplus would position us as the dominant nation on the planet. Wars will be fought not over energy but over food.

With projected advances in solar technology suggesting a 30% or more net increase in efficiency, tribal pressures to promote coal, oil, and perhaps even natural gas will diminish. Let’s hope so. BTW, that’s my dad on the tractor in 1933 in Vermont.

by Joseph Hincks / December 15, 2016

Solar power is becoming the world’s cheapest form of new electricity generation, data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) suggests.

According to Bloomberg’s analysis, the cost of solar power in China, India, Brazil and 55 other emerging market economies has dropped to about one third of its price in 2010. This means solar now pips wind as the cheapest form of renewable energy—but is also outperforming coal and gas.

In a note to clients this week, BNEF chairman Michael Liebreich said that solar power had entered “the era of undercutting” fossil fuels.

Bloomberg reports that 2016 has seen remarkable falls in the price of electricity from solar sources, citing a $64 per megawatt-hour contract in India at the tart of the year, and a $29.10 per megawatt-hour deal struck in Chile in August—about 50% the price of electricity produced from coal.

Ethan Zindler, head of U.S. policy analysis at BNEF, attributed much of the downward pressure to China’s massive deployment of solar, and the assistance it had provided to other countries financing their own solar projects.

“Solar investment has gone from nothing—literally nothing—like five years ago to quite a lot,” Zindler said.

When the numbers come in at the end of 2016 the generating capacity of newly installed solar photovoltaics is expected to exceed that of wind for the first time: at 70 gigawatts and 59 gigawatts respectively, according to BNEF projections.