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Solar Power’s Growth: Why Renewables Are Taking Over (Video)

Renewable energy costs plummet (RMI)

In a video released just last month, Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute points out that the lower cost, lower risk, and scalable mass-production of modular renewable technologies (like wind turbines and solar panels) means they are now outcompeting central power stations in the world market. (See above graph.)

He also explains how half the world’s new electric-generating capacity over the past five years has been renewable, incorporating perspectives on subsidies, nuclear power, and China’s evolving energy profile.  It may surprise you that modular, mass-produced renewables compare favorably in terms of implementation speed and economics, even to efficient new gas-fired power plants, but they do.

The video talk took place at the international nonprofit Technology, Entertainment, Design (TED) 2014 global conference in Vancouver, Canada. (The original talk is scheduled for a TEDTalks release. In the meantime, RMI issued its own interim recording.) Interestingly, the quote from the video that has generated by far the most attention on twitter is this one:

“Solar power is scaling up even faster than CELL PHONES.”

Palpable awe about apples and oranges, but nonetheless cheery. One observer tartly remarks, “The grid is still ancient, big companies still having the consumer by the neck. Will be interesting to see what is left after a major X flare or EMP.  Not if but when.” Your thoughts?

 
 
 
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covers environmental, health, renewable and conventional energy, and climate change news. She's currently on the climate beat for Important Media, having attended last year's COP20 in Lima Peru. Sandy has also worked for groundbreaking environmental consultants and a Fortune 100 health care firm. She writes for several weblogs and attributes her modest success to an "indelible habit of poking around to satisfy my own curiosity."

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