Key price indicators in the clean tech industry are about six years ahead of estimates, and it's mostly thanks to companies like Tesla that are pioneering cheaper, smarter solutions for mass-market consumption which can be used across a wide range of applications. This is a very good thing for Earth.
Picture: Vincent Callebaut Architects
Noah Smith writes in Bloomberg View about a study coming out of the Stockholm Environment Institute which offers one of the most comprehensive surveys of clean energy technology. The study points to two key components to the clean energy future which are becoming increasingly more affordable: Solar-collecting infrastructure and batteries.
The price of electric vehicle batteries, for example, have dropped to levels not expected until 2020. Manufacturers like Tesla and Nissan are now able to make batteries for about $US300/kWh, making an EV car more attractive to consumers than an internal combustion one (depending on gas prices, which are unfortunately for clean energy are going down again). After pledging to make batteries for 500,000 cars by 2020, Tesla's battery is also being tested for home use, which will complement the growing demand for solar power and help bring prices down there as well.
In his piece, Smith also proposes a new way of thinking about clean energy, which is very smart: Thinking of batteries and solar as the same solution to our biggest energy problem:
Each of these trends -- cheaper batteries and cheaper solar electricity -- is good on its own, and on the margin will help to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, with all the geopolitical drawbacks and climate harm they entail. But together, the two cost trends will add up to nothing less than a revolution in the way humankind interacts with the planet and powers civilisation.
It's a great read, and finally some welcome good news on the energy front. [Bloomberg View]