By Zoltan Kiss, Seeking Alpha, April 5th, 2013
Energy is the largest component of the world’s Gross Domestic Product. It is a measure of our state of civilization. Its availability determines our standard of living, but also threatens to undermine it: the excessive use of stored energy through burning fossil fuels is a cause of Climate Change. Now, the depletion of these fuels will force us to reinvent how we can continue to advance our civilization in a sustainable manner.
The phenomenon of climate change was identified first in the nineteenth century. By the end of the twentieth century, a consensus evolved in the scientific community as well as among progressive political establishments about the need to limit global warming, but a global response has proved elusive until now.
Over the last half century a number of significant changes to our energy outlook have emerged. In 1949 M. King Hubbert, an Exxon engineer, predicted that oil production in the US would peak in 1971.
This prediction was correct within days. The Global Hubbert’s peak (GHP) has been followed by a decline in fossil fuel reserves. A number of other transformational developments have occurred over the same time frame, including:
i. the emergence of cost effective renewable energy sources, particularly Solar Photovoltaic (PV).
ii. with new extraction technology, large amounts of local natural gas reserves have become accessible to dramatically change energy politics. This recent discovery of recoverable natural gas, together with the rapidly advancing renewable industry, gives the US local options not expected a decade ago. The US again has a realistically independent energy future.
In this article, the cost evolution of a variety of energy sources is examined. In particular, the role of renewable “Electronic Energy” in the form of PV will be examined in detail. The author shows data indicating that by 2020, photovoltaic electricity will be the lowest cost electrical energy available. This further asserts the need for a reliable storage solution compatible with wind and PV electricity generation.
It also suggests to the financial community to reexamine investments in the energy mix.
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