Are Renewables Too Expensive? 1

Yesterday, I shared with you the American Council on Renewable Energy’s “fact check” on renewable energy job creation.

As you read from that piece, renewable energy employs hundreds of thousands of Americans across the country.

But even with job creation, is renewable energy even worth it if it’s too expensive?

Perhaps. But that’s the catch – it’s not too expensive, despite what some would have you believe.

The claim – Clean and renewable energy is too expensive.

The truth – The cost of clean and renewable energy is much lower than some might think and is already cost competitive with conventional energy resources in many markets. In the last two years, prices for wind, solar, electric vehicles and other technologies have fallen rapidly and will continue to do so, and biofuels have helped lower gas prices.

  • Electricity from hydropower is the cheapest form of electricity when its all-in cost is compared to all other electricity generation options.
  • The average installed cost of solar systems declined 20 percent in the U.S. in 2011
  • The price of polysilicon, a key component of photovoltaic solar panels, has fallen 75% since 2008.
  • Analysts predict that by 2017, the cost for electricity produced from new onshore wind farms will be lower than new advanced or conventional coal plants.
  • There are six models of electric and hybrid vehicles that retail for under $32,000. By comparison, the average price of a car purchased in the United States in April 2012 was approximately $30,000.

Of course, the real cost equation comes down to the fact that fossil fuels continue to land billions in taxpayer subsidies every year. And this has been happening for decades. Clearly, there is no free market when it comes to energy. But if you were to end all subsidies today, both direct and indirect, for all forms of power generation, by the end of the decade, solar, wind, geothermal and electric cars would not only be competitive – they’d be cheaper!

Is Renewable Energy Too Expensive? originally appeared in Green Chip Stocks. Green Chip Review is a free 2x-per-week newsletter, is the first advisory to focus exclusively on investments in alternative and renewable energies.

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1 Comment

  1. This is the type of message that needs to be repeated over and over again until the naysayers, tea-party-ists, and in principle all sceptical people finally realise that they don’t have a leg to stand on. The sheer volume of positive messages needs to be overwhelming so that those without an agenda get the impression and feeling (in the absence of knowledge) what is right and what is wrong.

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