The most cost-effective power sources are solar and wind, re-affirms a study that includes social costs, such as the environmental costs of the climate change caused by CO2 from fossil fuels (the social cost of carbon, or SCC), and the health damage caused by sulfur dioxide pollution. It’s time to stop paying for utility executive profits with our health and dollars. No fracking, no pipeline.
M Caulfield wrote for Exposing the Truth 24 September 2013, Renewable Energy Now Cheaper Than Fossil Fuel,
Renewable energy is becoming more and more competitive. Alternative and renewable energy sources are increasingly becoming more affordable. According to a new study published in the Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, it is now less costly in America to get electricity from wind turbines and solar panels, than it is to get it from coal-fired power plants. The study shows, when climate change costs and other health impacts were factored in, that it is even more cost effective to convert an existing coal-fired power plant with a wind turbine, than it is to keep the old fossil fuel-burning plant.
Unsubsidized renewable energy is now cheaper than electricity from coal and gas power stations in Australia as well. Wind farms in Australia can produce energy at AU$80/MWh. Meanwhile, coal plants are producing energy at AU$143/MWh and gas at AU$116/MWh. And the myth that alternative energy sources were enormously more costly than the typical fossil fuels, is proving to be untrue. And after initial investment costs are waged, making them now ameliorated, and the raw materials for solar and wind power are free, besides costs of upkeep, and the harvesting of those sources doesn’t cause mayhem to the environment. Making it an ever-more appealing alternative energy source.
“The perception that fossil fuels are cheap and renewables are expensive is now out of date… The fact that wind power is now cheaper than coal and gas in a country with some of the world’s best fossil fuel resources shows that clean energy is a game changer which promises to turn the economics of power systems on its head,” – Michael Liebreich, chief executive of Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
In lead author Laurie Johnson’s Blog 17 September 2013, New Study: Clean Energy Least Costly to Power America’s Electricity Needs,
The study results show that our electricity system, which generates fully 40 percent of the nation’s carbon dioxide pollution, is costly. Already, climate change is contributing to record heat waves, floods, drought, wildfires and severe storms. Such extreme weather caused more than $140 billion in damages in 2012. American taxpayers picked up nearly $100 billion of those costs, according to an NRDC report released in May, 2013….
We arrive at our results in large part based upon a measure developed by economists called the “social cost of carbon,” or SCC. The SCC estimates how much damage one ton of CO2 emitted today causes now and into the future. Our study also includes economic damages caused by sulfur dioxide (SO2), another pollutant released by coal-fired power plants. Every year, SO2 causes thousands of premature deaths, respiratory ailments (e.g. asthma and bronchitis), heart disease and a host of ecosystem damages.
And we can: solar stocks are beating fossil fuel stocks 120% to zero. The tipping point has come. Utilities are running scared of solar power solar parity with fossil fuels has been reached, yes even with natural gas, and long since reached with nuclear. Nuclear has always been a boondoggle, never surviving without massive taxpayer and ratepayer subsidies.
Even with fracking natural gas prices are not going to keep going down, while while Moore’s Law keeps driving solar prices down and deployments up like compound interest. This new study only uses current costs; it doesn’t even take the exponentially decreasing price of solar power into account, so the case for solar now is actually even stronger. In about a decade, solar power will overtake every other power source.
The long hot smoggy night of burning fossil plants is ending, and solar power will win like the Internet did: so fast it will make your jaw drop. There’s no point in paying dirty tribute money to fossil fuel companies that makes us all more dependent on them, now that the solar sun of jobs, energy independence, and clean air and water is already rising on Georgia. Soon we’ll see even Southern Company get out in front on making Georgia and the southeast a net exporter of solar and wind energy.
PS: Owed to Dante Acevedo.