On April 14th, Tom Randall of Bloomberg News bannered “Fossil Fuels Just Lost the Race Against Renewables,” and reported that:
“The race for renewable energy has passed a turning point. The world is now adding more capacity for renewable power each year than coal, natural gas, and oil combined. And there’s no going back. The shift occurred in 2013, when the world added 143 gigawatts of renewable electricity capacity, compared with 141 gigawatts in new plants that burn fossil fuels, according to an analysis presented Tuesday at the Bloomberg New Energy Finance annual summit in New York. The shift will continue to accelerate, and by 2030 more than four times as much renewable capacity will be added.”
The article’s graphs of electrical generation show that, from now till at least 2030, solar will soar around five-fold, and wind will double, while coal and also oil will shrink about threefold. These are the major reasons why fossil fuels will shrink and be increasingly replaced by renewables. By 2030, the renewably-produced electrical power is projected to be 4.36 times as much as the fossil-fuel-produced electrical power. In 2015, that ratio is only 1.49. In 2010, it was only .89 (more electrical power was fossil-fuel than renewable). So, the renewable/fossil ratio is soaring, and is expected to continue soaring in the coming decades.
These figures are for electrical generation, not for automobile and other gasoline-powered vehicular usages of energy; but, from now on forward, any switch away from gasoline and toward electrically powered vehicles will be increasingly toward renewable energy sources.
Furthermore, regarding the vehicular switch to electrically powered cars, another Bloomberg article the same day headlines “The $5 Billion Race to Build a Better Battery,” and reports that Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers, Bill Joy, and Nick and Joby Pritzker, are among the many venture capitalists who are investing heavily in new battery-technologies that hold real promise of making electrical vehicles overtake gasoline-powered ones.
The combination of these two factors — plunging costs for renewables, plus increasing efficiencies in battery-technologies — suggests that perhaps the possibility to prevent runaway global warming is more realistic than had previously been expected (though not less than hoped).
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity, and of Feudalism, Fascism, Libertarianism and Economics.