What’s particularly interesting about California’s approach is that it takes into account something most people forget: renewable energies are technologies, not fuels, and therefore their prices are subject to the experience curve. As with Swanson’s law, which means that every time the number of solar panels produced is doubled, the price drops by 28% and its efficiency increases to the point of having already converted solar energy into the cheapest form of energy generation available, and that can only get cheaper
Renewable energy is cheap, but the drawback is availability. The sun doesn’t shine at night and sometimes there’s no wind does. The only way to surmount this problem is by expanding storage capacity through batteries, which are only used in a tiny amount of facilities in the world, mainly due to their price. At current prices, forecasts predict that by 2040, only 3% of the energy produced in the world will be stored there.
California knows that its goal of generating 100% of its energy from renewable sources could be reached earlier than 2045 thanks to increased demand for electric vehicles or solar panels and batteries for new homes. That would allow the state, the third largest and most populous in the United States and with a GDP twice Spain’s, to follow Hawaii’s lead. A benchmark for the rest of world in the fight against climate change on a level similar to Norway.
A lot is at stake here. As a start, we all need to be up to speed on the state of energy generation and accept that the future could be different if we do what we have to do and stop denying reality.
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