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Earth Power United States

World's Cheapest Energy Source Will Be Renewables Within Three Years (qz.com) 474

Morgan Stanley researchers predict renewable energy will become the world's cheapest form of power within three years. An anonymous reader quotes Qz: Renewable energy is simply becoming the cheapest option, fast... "We project that by 2020, renewables will be the cheapest form of new-power generation across the globe," with the exception of a few countries in Southeast Asia, the Morgan Stanley analysts said in a report published Thursday... Globally, the price of solar panels has fallen 50% between 2016 and 2017, they write. And in countries with favorable wind conditions, the costs associated with wind power "can be as low as one-half to one-third that of coal- or natural gas-fired power plants." Innovations in wind-turbine design are allowing for ever-longer wind blades; that boost in efficiency will also increase power output from the wind sector, according to Morgan Stanley.
The researchers also predict America will reach its Paris Climate Accord targets in 2020 -- five years early -- simply because renewables are already becoming the cheapest option for power.
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World's Cheapest Energy Source Will Be Renewables Within Three Years

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  • Bye bye, Middle East (Score:5, Interesting)

    by OneHundredAndTen ( 1523865 ) on Sunday July 09, 2017 @08:50PM (#54775929)
    If this pans out, the Middle East problems will become largely irrelevant, outside the Middle East. And Saudi Arabia will revert to what it always was.
    • by dbIII ( 701233 ) on Sunday July 09, 2017 @09:06PM (#54775977)
      Funny thing is that was Nixon's plan way back, and then Carter's after the oil shock.
      A huge amount of foreign oil money got donated to both parties to stop that sort of energy independence so now we spend a far larger amount giving free military support to the Saudis.
    • Eventually yes, but not for a while. Oil-based fuels will still be the most energy-dense solutions many years, so the need for oil will continue, sadly. But if the demand for oil decreases, the flood of income into that part of the world will also decrease. Which seems like a fine idea to me.

      • If electricity is cheap enough you can generate 'oil-based' fuels out of air and water.

      • by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Monday July 10, 2017 @12:27AM (#54776603)

        But if the demand for oil decreases, the flood of income into that part of the world will also decrease. Which seems like a fine idea to me.

        Ya, but as Slater said on Archer, "If you think the Middle East is messed up now, just wait until nobody needs their oil.".

    • Probably not (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Picodon ( 4937267 ) on Sunday July 09, 2017 @09:28PM (#54776067)

      If this pans out, the Middle East problems will become largely irrelevant, outside the Middle East. And Saudi Arabia will revert to what it always was.

      I’m not so sure about that. There is more at stake in the region than just oil revenue, like competing regional influence (with military benefits), mass migrations, exportable terrorism and, of course, the Israel-Arab conflict in which the U.S. has always been knee deep. Turning the region into a resourceless dump of poverty is unlikely to improve things for anyone. If coal country here in the U.S. can effortlessly swing to radical extremes because their outdated jobs have gone away, think of what’s likely to happen in the Middle-East when it’s their turn. It would probably be smart to help them to a soft landing and rebound to better opportunities.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by hyades1 ( 1149581 )

        Three of the most hate-driven religions on Earth have their origin in the Middle East. They've been slaughtering each other for millennia, so I have to whether anything sensible people can do will pry these people away from each others' throats.

        Might just as well buy popcorn and watch the show.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Three of the most hate-driven religions on Earth have their origin in the Middle East.

          Christianity, Judaism and Islam?

      • Re:Probably not (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ChrisMaple ( 607946 ) on Sunday July 09, 2017 @11:05PM (#54776393)
        The Middle East, Israel excepted, is a "resourceless dump of poverty" because of the people and their self-destructive beliefs. Israel, like Hong Kong, is essentially resourceless and has become relatively rich through intelligent human action.
      • Re:Probably not (Score:5, Informative)

        by arobatino ( 46791 ) on Monday July 10, 2017 @12:33AM (#54776611)

        Turning the region into a resourceless dump of poverty is unlikely to improve things for anyone.

        Lifting the Resource Curse [wikipedia.org] probably will improve things in the long run.

    • No. Because they are moving out of there.
      It make them a bigger problem. For us. The pepole. Maybe not for US supremacy.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by fermion ( 181285 )
      No, everywhere else is going to be screwed. The current energy situation is because of fracking, not because fracking is cost effective, but because a lot of money has been invested, so they have to sell the oil even if it is break even, and that fracking results in massive quantities of natural gas, which again is sold, even at a loss.

      Fracking therefore has caused a glut in the crude oil market. As long as crude sells for around $70 a barrel, there is a break even costs. However, at these low prices w

    • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Monday July 10, 2017 @05:38AM (#54777229) Journal
      It will not. All the renewables are attacking fixed point energy consumption, homes, businesses, offices and factories. They do nothing to transportation sector.

      In transportation sector, (kerosene for jets, furnace oil for ships, diesel for trucks and most trains, gasoline for cars) there is no alternative in three or even 10 years. Electric trains are the only thing in transportation sector that could benefit by renewables.

      Iceland has geothermal electricity so cheap that 15% of the world aluminum is made there. (Aluminum can not be separated from the ore, bauxite, by melting, you need electrolysis, no electricity no aluminum). Despite that cheap electricity, there is smog and pollution in Reykjavik, because of all the cars and trucks.

  • by darthsilun ( 3993753 ) on Sunday July 09, 2017 @09:05PM (#54775971)

    Rick Perry says if we put the coal out there, the demand for it will follow.

    (What do you want from a guy who got his degree in Animal Science?)

    Never mind that Natural Gas is cheaper. I have a choice when I buy my electricity. Up to now I've been buying from a utility that produces more from renewables – just because it's more expensive, not because it comes from renewables. Now that coal is the more expensive option I'll switch to that. It costs more, it's got to be better, right?

  • One small problem (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Synon ( 847155 ) on Sunday July 09, 2017 @09:13PM (#54775995) Homepage
    What about the cost of energy storage? Producing it is not enough if you can't use it at-will.
    • Re:One small problem (Score:5, Informative)

      by dprimary ( 215604 ) on Sunday July 09, 2017 @09:27PM (#54776061)

      Utilities are already adding storage it became cost effective about a year ago. Cheaper then adding peaker plants.

    • by arth1 ( 260657 )

      We can store the energy from the sun in plants.
      It's fairly cheap.

      Although strictly speaking the sun is not a renewable source of energy. Life on Earth has already lived through most of the Sun's life span.

      • by Rei ( 128717 ) on Monday July 10, 2017 @07:01AM (#54777431) Homepage

        Plants are an incredibly inefficient means to capture light energy. At best you're looking at capturing a couple percent of the energy - more typical is a fraction of a percent. Then you throw half to three quarters of it away due to processing/conversion losses and Carnot losses in combustion. And they use large amounts of water, don't function for half the year in most locations, require pesticides and fertilizers, and on and on.

  • Meh. I think they're secretly trying to create another bubble so they can short the market.

  • The improvement to the environment in terms of less particulate and chemical contamination made it cost effective a while ago.

    the fact that this fact was always ignored as a cost means we're still debating whether renewables are "cost effective".

    meanwhile, if only China would manufacture solar cells properly and stop dumping the by-products into the environment.

    pollution is, and has been for quite some time, a global problem.

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Monday July 10, 2017 @05:03AM (#54777151) Journal
    All these renewables have always been just one decade away from the market. Now a days they are just three years out. Great improvement. In just 50 years they will be 1 year away.
  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Monday July 10, 2017 @05:13AM (#54777193) Journal

    The researchers also predict America will reach its Paris Climate Accord targets in 2020 -- five years early -- simply because renewables are already becoming the cheapest option for power.

    And the coal miners will be blaming EPA, regulation and government conspiracy for their loss of jobs. Their "drill baby drill" chants crashed the natural gas prices and made coal unviable economically. People who tell this stark truth unvarnished are pilloried by them.

    In fact EPA is what has kept most coal jobs alive till now. All the old coal powered power stations were grand-fathered from most EPA regulations. So even when natural gas becomes cheaper than coal, the new plants have to comply with the latest standards. So the cost of gas plants were high and gas has to become significantly cheaper to make retiring old coal plants viable economically. This was the reason why the old coal plants continued to survive, at least maintaining some level of demand for coal.

    Cost of new generation of renewables is within striking distance now, but gas prices can keep falling and stretch the transition period.

Mathematicians stand on each other's shoulders. -- Gauss

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