The writing is on the wall: the alternative energy revolution must continue apace if humanity is to meet various requirements before mid-century: lowering pollution in the atmosphere, slowing the emission of greenhouse gases and transitioning from “big energy” and “big industry” companies that are over consuming precious water resources. These transitions are a key to allowing an exploding human population to have a chance at survival heading into the end of this century.
Wind Is Now A Mainstream Source Of Energy
To get our bearings we note that wind farms are now providing 2% of the world’s electricity with capacity doubling every third year. If this growth continues, and there is every indication that it will, wind energy will overtake nuclear power within 10 years.
Solar Has Great Potential But Is Lagging
Solar energy is moving much slower, currently providing one quarter of 1% of global electricity. The solar industry is growing at close to 90% a year and will remains a threat to mainstream energy sources over the long term.
Swanson’s Law states that whenever the number of solar cells in the world doubles the cost of making one will decrease by 20%. The following chart shows the decrease in the cost of photovoltaic cells in dollars per watt between 1977 and 2013, declining from $76.67 to just $0.74 over that time.
As the economics get better, so will the adoption of solar energy by the mainstream.
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- India Investing $100 Billion in Renewable Energy to Meet 35% Target by 2050
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- Renewable Energy Projects Aren’t Always the Solution
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- 75% Of Apple Corporate Offices and 100% Of Its Data Centers Worldwide Operating On Clean and Renewable Energy
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- World’s Largest Renewable Energy Projects – Slide Show
References and related links:
- California Renewable Energy Overview and Programs
- Renewable Energy Sources
- Renewable Energy World North America, Dec. 9-11 2014, Orlando, FL