“There is surprising – even shocking – good news: Our ability to convert sunshine into usable energy has become much cheaper far more rapidly than anyone had predicted. The cost of electricity from photovoltaic, or PV, solar cells is now equal to or less than the cost of electricity from other sources powering electric grids in at least 79 countries. By 2020 – as the scale of deployments grows and the costs continue to decline – more than 80 percent of the world’s people will live in regions where solar will be competitive with electricity from other sources.”
That’s directly from Al Gore, in his recent article in Rolling Stone magazine. He adds great bits of information, such as: “It is worth remembering this key fact about the supply of the basic ‘fuel': Enough raw energy reaches the Earth from the sun in one hour to equal all of the energy used by the entire world in a full year.”
According to Gore, “We are witnessing the beginning of a massive shift to a new energy-distribution model – from the ‘central station’ utility-grid model that goes back to the 1880s to a ‘widely distributed’ model with rooftop solar cells, on-site and grid battery storage, and microgrids.”
Let’s spread the word. Let’s widely communicate the fact that renewable energy, for example from the sun and wind, is not necessarily more expensive to produce than energy from coal or fossil fuels, as some would like us to believe. Gore writes: “While the cost of carbon-based energy continues to increase, the cost of solar electricity has dropped by an average of 20 percent per year since 2010. Some energy economists, including those who produced an authoritative report this past spring for Bernstein Research, are now predicting energy-price deflation as soon as the next decade.”
There’s more good news: “In poorer countries, where most of the world’s people live and most of the growth in energy use is occurring, photovoltaic electricity is not so much displacing carbon-based energy as leapfrogging it altogether”. He cites India and Bangladesh as examples. In parts of Africa, solar energy will show “explosive growth”.
As previous predictions cited by Gore about the rapidity of dissemination and scale of use of new technologies and energy have shown, it’s easy to get the facts and estimates wrong. He himself is “surprised at the speed with which this impending transition has been accelerating.” So let’s help “accelerate the shift toward a low-carbon future” by spreading Gore’s arguments and leaving the shortsighted view and negativity of the naysayers behind. It is possible to solve the climate crisis. And that’s good news for the planet, and mankind.
Read Al Gore’s article here.