November 30, 2010 § 3 Comments
The New York Times recently published a special Energy Section titled There Will Be Fuel. It is a play on words to the 2007 film, There Will Be Blood, directed by Paul Anderson; the movie is about ‘family, greed, religion, and oil’ during the early age of oil exploration in California. The NYT section describes dramatic changes from three years ago higher fuel prices with gasoline at $4.00 plus per gallon: oil at $147 per barrel; natural gas at $12 kBtu, and home electricity bills soaring.
Now it seems that things have changed. A global recession and a predictable demand response to high prices along with ‘supply gone wild’ has tipped the balance back in favor of conventional carbon fuels. There are vast new reserves of oil from deep water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico to tar sands in Canada and a natural gas industry that boasts a 100 years supply of low-cost natural gas from horizontal drilling in tight shale formations. What about renewable energy? What about solar? Can it compete?
It’s here; it’s economic now, it’s expanding exponentially in global markets; it’s beyond critical mass, and solar is not going away. Solar is not oil or shale gas or coal or nuclear – it’s scalable, distributive electricity generation on the load side of your electric meter. There is a huge difference.
The EIA reports August, 2010 U.S. average residential cost for electricity at 12ȼ kWh. With installed PV at $5.00 per Watt, grid-tied PV betters 12ȼ kWh for the next 40 years with no fuel, no water, and no emissions. Try that with shale gas or coal or nuclear! PV . . . it’s beyond grid parity
Light from light . . . it’s a very good idea!
PhD, Political Economy