Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Cost and politics of changing power sources

I hadn't heard much about Germany's plan to go non-nuclear, so I'm thankful from this update by Max Auffhammer, a professor in my old department. The last I'd heard was that it was getting really expensive to get energy from other sources, and that's surely still the case. However, it has not dissuaded the rich Germans from staying the course, and in fact they have now set themselves the goal of divesting themselves from coal as well, which in my estimation is a more laudable goal. Their heavy investments in solar photovoltaics and other renewable sources have improved technology and driven prices down, though they are still not cheap.

Still, renewables were an impressive 23% of the German power supply in 2013 vs a little less than 10% in the US. Also, "renewables" includes everything from hydropower to biofuels: if we zero in on solar, for instance, we see that solar photovoltaics represent 4.5% of total German consumption, while they are 0.1% of total US consumption. Ironically, this is not because Germany is more suitable for solar power: the opposite is true. Source

Not just a tip of the cap, but a deep bow to Germany for taking on the expense of making this transition. The world will be better for it!

No comments:

Post a Comment