Saturday, April 25, 2009

Why China and India won't go for renewables

Another incredibly well informed article has been published, this time in City Journal, on why renewables won't get us anywhere - this time because China and India will never go for it:

China and India won’t trade 3-cent coal for 15-cent wind or 30-cent solar.
Of course, wind has cost less than 5 cents for years in good locations, and solar is down to 25 cents now - and will hit 15 cents in Arizona by 2011. But that's Arizona, not China. China will not go for solar - that's why they implemented a plan to boost the domestic solar market on March 26 - a month before that US article was published.

Of course, China will never go for wind. As The Guardian wrote in 2008:

Since 2005, the country's wind generation capacity has increased by more than 100% a year.
Ditto for India, which is the 5th biggest wind power producer in the world.

The best part was here:
It’s often suggested that technology improvements and mass production will sharply lower the cost of wind and solar. But engineers have pursued these technologies for decades, and while costs of some components have fallen, there is no serious prospect of costs plummeting and performance soaring as they have in our laptops and cell phones.
Wow. Does anyone get to write for City Journal? Don't you have to use facts somewhere?

Over the last 20 years, the cost of electricity from utility-scale wind systems has dropped by more than 80%. In the early 1980s, when the first utility-scale turbines were installed, wind-generated electricity cost as much as 30 cents per kilowatt-hour. Now, state-of-the-art wind power plants can generate electricity for less than 5 cents/kWh... (Source)
... prices for traditional silicon-based panels should fall from $3.66 per watt (2007 figures) to $2.14 per watt in 2010, and more impressively, thin-film PV should go to $1.81 per watt from $2.96. When coal, currently the least expensive source of power, is around $2.10 per watt to generate, the expected drop in price for solar will make it far more competitive. (Source)
It took me 25 minutes to research and compose this entry. This is not hard research.

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