Weekly Renewable Energy & Technology News Brief – Week 2 – November 2013 “scire quod sciendum –“Knowledge which is worth having”.
WHAT MADE THE NEWS THIS WEEK – NOVEMBER 15th 2013
This week saw a focus on Climate Change questions like “Are Typhoon Disasters Getting More Common?” and “How Will We Pay for Climate Preparedness?” An article on “The Ozone Hole History” offered a lesson on Climate Change.
Another common theme is that many US cities and states are now looking at localizing the grid (local ownership) and/or developing extensive renewable energy facilities as an alternative to traditional grid based power. California, Colorado, Boulder, Michigan, New York were just a few of the major areas in the US working on those types of public policies.
There were also many articles on EV’s (electric vehicles) and their continuing rapid growth in usage and popularity, combined with a growth in “Smart Cities” and smart vehicle technology.
A continuing trend saw many articles on the rapid spread of solar power, both in the US and worldwide, with further advances every week in solar PV technology, which promises to make solar both cheaper and more efficient in the near future. The cost of solar PV panels is now only 1% of what they were 30 years ago and the cost has dropped over 80% in the last five years. If the cost continues to fall, and the efficiency gains continue to increase, a full home solar installation for about 5-6 kilowatts should cost no more than about $2,000.00 within the next three years.
With the cost of 5 kw home solar storage batteries also falling dramatically it should be possible for millions of homes to be totally power self-sufficient within the next 3-5 years. Offsetting this is the threat to current economic models and ownership of utility scale power generation companies and the political clout they wield, leading some power utilities to actively use the dirty tricks playbook to severely limit or ban the growth of renewables in some US states and cities.
Talk about dirty pool. Responsible energy producers like Shell Oil have seen the future (Shell Oil publicly predicts gas driven autos will be finished by 2070) and have been actively changing their business model for years, so that they move with the times INTO renewable energy production, rather than dinosaur type efforts against such a move. Enlightened energy companies all over the world are moving forward with their business models and will change and grow as consumer consumption demand patterns also change. Unfortunately some US energy companies still think they can go on building steam engines forever. Perhaps it’s time they realised that their “steam engine” business models are as dead as the Dodo if they don’t embrace change – and quickly.
Utility companies better change their game plan – or they will just be out of the game. Period.
The Infographics included in this article are from the New Jersey Science and technology University. The final part, below, shows where the US energy sector is headed. Utility companies would be well advised to jump on board early – or miss the boat.