Most People Are Underestimating Free Market Advances in Green Energy
The United States must produce less than a billion metric tons of CO2 equivalent gas emissions in order to become carbon neutral. Today, the US has an output of roughly 6.5 billion, with 5.5 billion coming from the energy sector. While this may appear to be a rather dire situation, energy sector emissions have fallen by nearly 1 billion metric tons since 2005.
While the IPCC dubiously claims we have less than a decade before the apocalypse arrives, NASA, which conducts the vast majority of global climate monitoring and data collection, as well as the majority of scientists from American universities, take much more moderate stance on the potential impact of climate change.
Whether you’re in the doomsayer camp or the rainbows and global greening camp is irrelevant. I would like to present some incredible statistics that demonstrate the world is on the cusp of an energy revolution that will rival that of the late 19th century:
1. Solar is now cheaper than any non-renewable source
2. The cost of solar continues to fall substantially
3. Installations have been growing exponentially
So what does this all mean?
Well for starters, now that solar is the cheapest source of energy, states will be rushing to replace their old, expensive sources of energy with utility-scale PV while their middle class covers their roofs with residential PV.
Given these recent and past trends, I made a chart for what we can expect solar installations and cumulative capacity to look like over the next 30 years:
Solar installations will exponentially growth, compounding growth in cumulative installed capacity until it flat-lines due to demand for electricity having been fully met. I estimate that the United States could be free of fossil-fuel energy by early 2030’s if the Federal government and states can cooperate and make the investments necessary. I have already written an article on how much this would cost, and why it would be profitable in a short period of time. You can find that article here.
I have also made a chart showing how US greenhouse gas emissions could plummet as a result of the ongoing energy revolution and the near-future rapid electrification of the transportation sector. In the more distant near-future, we could see advanced carbon capture and environmental engineering used to alleviate our remaining emissions from agriculture and industry. I am confident the rest of the world will follow suite.