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In few years renewable power may become a better economic option (weforum.org)
82 points by dgudkov 5 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 100 comments





They already are less expensive in areas that have the specific resource. For example, in windy parts of the world, wind is the least expensive. In sunny parts, solar is the least expensive. This is without subsidies.

With specific subsidies, the area where they are less expensive is even larger.

Of course, fossil fuels receive considerable direct and indirect subsidies, further complicating answering the question "what's least cost?"


Of course, fossil fuels receive considerable direct and indirect subsidies

This is the received wisdom of the clean energy movement, but every report I’ve read says otherwise. Oil and gas receive little if no operational subsidies in most countries and in fact are heavily taxed at every stage of exploitation. Even government investments in oil and gas typically return far better than the risk-free rate, which is remarkable for government.

Of course there are some terrible externalities that we don’t price in...


>Of course there are some terrible externalities that we don’t price in...

Like securing our energy interests in "difficult" parts of the world using an intelligence service so pricey that it's illegal for us to ask how pricey it is. (Along with a pricey military to go along with that intelligence service now that I think about it.)


Come on. You and I know that America loves its army. You’d be doing this stuff even if it wasn’t to putter around in the Persian Gulf and supposedly make oil cheap (how’s that working out, BTW?)

It’s already priced in.


I googled coal subsidy and this is the first result.

There's a lot of tax credits and subsidies. "Clean coal" for instance, or 3.4 billion for carbon sequestration (did that get past the lab yet?)

https://www.taxpayer.net/energy-natural-resources/coal-a-lon...


So even combining every possible subsidy given to the coal industry since 1950 they still only get a total of $72 billion of subsidies in present value. Given that coal's current contribution to GDP is ~$50 billion and the coal industry was larger in the past its pretty fair that the subsidies are completely insignificant and probably don't exceed 1% of the industry's economic value.

So subsidies for coal are incredibly small.


Coal? Or oil and gas?

> Of course there are some terrible externalities that we don’t price in...

I think it's past the point we started considering unpriced externalities as subsidies.


Don’t forget the massive implicit subsidies they get in the form of dumping their pollution into our shared environment.

...like the externalities I mentioned.

I must have missed that bit at the end. It doesn't make any sense to me to say they don't receive subsidies, then immediately afterward bring up the externalities. The fact that we allow them to continue creating those externalities is a huge subsidy.

In my mind the even bigger questions is whether it being "cheaper" will stay true once we actually try to scale the use of the technology. As in can we use this to actually produce most of our energy needs and still have the cost benefit?

I'm not an expert on energy production but a study I recently read on this topic for the German "Energiewende" over here did not sound so great [1]. In Germany the renewables we can scale are mostly Wind + PV. However according to the study their seasonal patterns combined with the demand curve seem to make it pretty much impossible to actually expand them meaningfully. Over the year you'll get peak production far outstripping demand (we've already seen negative prices in our markets with current installed capacity) and in the troughs you will need huge production from other energy sources (mostly old coal plants at this point). As these are seasonal patterns this means you would need to store TWh over many months to average that out and make new installed renewable capacity actually useful. The study did some back on the envelope calculations for various options for that but none seemed to come close to achieving that.

If that is true, system wide such nice looking renewable price calculations are preconditioned on a backup structure of conventional plants being on standby to fill in the throughs. As this is highly uneconomical for them the cost for that will still have to be paid by the system. At the same time due to the extreme variability prices will drop to zero during peak times (well...unless you have feed-in tarifs) making cheap production prices still be a loss.

I imagine the calculations might look much more favorable in other locales where demand is better correlated with renewable production but I would be surprised if Germany is the total exception here.

[1] http://www.hanswernersinn.de/dcs/2017%20Buffering%20Volatili...


Renewable Energy (RE) activists make the claim that RE is cheap already, but my basic math doesn't check out well.

Here's a calculation for Solar from (sunny) India: A 5KW Solar Rooftop costs in the ballpark of Rs 300,000 (~4000 USD), which takes care of a bill of less than Rs 5000 per /month (~60, 70 USD). That'll take 5 years (at least) to recover the cost of install. Then there would be the added cost of maintaining the setup.

Now, USD 4000 might not sound like much to invest in a healthy future, but it's still a LOT of money for the majority of Indian households, and the idea is quite difficult to sell.

So the only help can come from the government subsidies. Unfortunately, while the govt has set huge public targets, the subsidy doesn't reach common people. The current Energy lobby is showing it's ugly face here, and the government is warming up to the idea of taxing solar products.

There's also the troubling fact that large corporations are setting up these huge RE powerplants (with backing from govts), when by the very nature, Solar energy should be rather distributed.

I just hope we talk about the hinderance by governments and large corporations in the RE space a lot more and not let them collude or slow down this natural progression.


Can it completely satisfy our current energy requirements?

Last I heard, nuclear was the only non-fossil fuel way of doing that. Is that still the case?


Not without major improvements in battery tech or many massive public works projects like damns with pumps.

Or massive public works projects like nuclear reactors.

But yeah, obviously dams and deep wells with pumps are orders of magnitude less expensive than nuclear reactors. So that's likely where the money will go.

But it's ALL gonna be pricey. Only thing that isn't quite as pricey are the fossil fuels. Very little stomach for future development on those however.


Last I heard, that San Onofre upgrade didn't go so well. Who's paying for that, again?

That'd be great but the word "storage" does not appear in this article. For wind/solar to truly be cheaper than fossil, the cost of storing enough energy to get through a few windless nights has to be included.

Backing up by natural gas doesn't count; natural gas is a fossil fuel and if you take methane into account it might even be worse than coal.

Hydro and geothermal don't need storage but they're also geographically limited. We can't expand them arbitrarily the way we could expand wind/solar. This also means using hydro to store energy from wind/solar can only go so far.

None of this matters in the near term, since we can certainly expand wind/solar a lot before we run into problems. But over the next several decades we need to replace fossil entirely.



How much storage?

On a grid with natural gas backup, it's easy to throw in an hour's worth of battery storage to cover minor fluctuations, quote a price "with storage," but still rely on gas if the wind dies down over a large area for a couple days (which does happen).


"Bigger turbines will create more wind power, and the intermittency of both sources can be optimized with large-scale battery backup facilities."

Ok. How much intermittency can they handle?

I'm not talking about smoothing our minor variations in output. I'm talking about enough storage so you don't need fossil backup at all, even if the wind dies down over a large area for a couple days. Battery backup at that scale is not affordable with current technology, but that's what we'd need if we actually got rid of fossil.


Wind/Solar + storage already has actual bids coming in cheaper than coal:

https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2018/1/16/1689559...


That article doesn't say how much storage they're bidding. Is it enough for an hour, or three days?

If you've got fossil backup, an hour is fine. If you don't, it's not.


You're conflating energy concepts "capacity" with "energy"

The grid can have wind/solar and fossil. Generation is dispatched in "merit order" -- when wind/solar is has a lower marginal cost, it will serve load. During other periods (like those windless nights), the fossil will still generate.


By 2050 or so, the grid can only have both if we accept disastrous levels of climate change. See the latest U.N. report that's been all over the news, e.g. here: https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/07/world/climate-change-new-ipcc...

> natural gas is a fossil fuel and if you take methane into account it might even be worse than coal

Huh? Natural gas only produces about half the CO2 per unit of energy that coal does.


The point is that natural gas (also known as methane) can leak out into the environment during production and distribution, and methane is a very potent greenhouse gas, 30X as bad per mass.

So if burning methane only produces half the CO2 per unit of energy, but just 2% of it leaks into the atmosphere at any point in the production/distribution pipeline, then it's actually worse.


Methane has a relatively short half-life in the atmosphere, only 8.6 years, which means that over the long term it's not that potent a GHG versus long-lived CO2 (about 100 years, but it's complicated). The radiative forcing alone doesn't tell the whole story.

Yes but it's not only direct forcing over the long term that matters. Push the planet hard enough in the short term, and we'll kick off positive feedbacks that take things several degrees further with no more help from us. The exact threshold is unknown but it's thought to be about two degrees C over preindustrial.

> Push the planet hard enough in the short term, and we'll kick off positive feedbacks

Which have never actually been observed. The whole "positive feedbacks" thing is based on computer models which have been falsified by the actual data.


No, it's based on extensive geological evidence. See Hansen's book for details.

Besides that, it's based on the fact that we're already seeing things like polar ice melt and emissions from permafrost.


> No, it's based on extensive geological evidence.

We don't have accurate enough geological evidence to support the kinds of "positive feedback" claims that are being made. Hansen's book lays out a partisan case.

> we're already seeing things like polar ice melt and emissions from permafrost.

What were these things doing a thousand years ago? Five thousand years ago? Ten thousand years ago? We don't know. And that means we don't have the data to put what we're currently seeing in proper perspective. And nobody is claiming that we do: as I said, the claims of possible disaster based on positive feedback are based on models, not data. And the models have been falsified by the data.


I take it you've read his book then? Could you point out specifically what's wrong with his evidence?

It seemed pretty convincing to me, since there were multiple independent lines of evidence that all pointed to the same conclusion.


> I take it you've read his book then?

No, I've read scientific papers on the topic, his and others. I don't trust what is said in books on science for lay people; I've caught too many scientists misrepresenting the science when they write for lay people, because they know they can get away with it (and not just in climate science--I've caught physicists doing it about general relativity and basic QM, which are a lot more solidly nailed down by evidence and controlled experiments than climate science is).


Ok. Tell me something he gets wrong, and why it's wrong.

Feedbacks depend on which model you use. Still, it's not particularly relevant to the question of slow methane leakage from a natural gas distribution system, which is what we're talking about.

Sure it's relevant. If we use twice as much methane this year, we'll probably have twice as much leakage, and that means twice as much climate impact from this year's methane over the next few decades.

The feedbacks depend on total temperature not atmospheric gas composition, so methane raising temperatures by X degrees isn't any worse than CO2 causing the same temperature rise, and methane will exit the atmosphere faster. That is, feedback is proportional to the time integral of warming, not the forcing!

Yeah fine but total warming over the next 25 years could well be sufficient to get us over the critical threshold, and methane does have a greater impact than CO2 over a period of 25 years.

I don't know about the claims re: methane and natural gas, but methane causes warming significantly worse per kg than CO2 does.

I hope there is further work on renewable aviation fuels, as vehicle fuels in general will be a big source of demand for fossil energy extraction for quite a while, and especially for aviation applications.

"Renewable energy in transport" report by IEA (.PDF)

https://www.iea.org/media/training/presentations/Day_2_Renew...


That presentation leans heavily on biofuels/biomass as precursors to liquid fuels. In fact it doesn't mention any non-bio alternatives. That's not surprising given its age. Less than a decade ago biofuel looked cheaper than fully synthetic liquid electrofuels, considering the much higher cost of solar power back then.

I think that "power to liquids" is a much more likely path for large scale replacement of aviation fuel.

See for example "Power-to-Liquids as Renewable Fuel Option for Aviation: A Review"

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1002/cite.2017001...

The main problem with biomass is land requirements. You can get a little biomass "for free" just by using scrap from existing industries, but it rapidly runs into problems of land availability if you want to make enough carbon-neutral fuel for the world's commercial airlines. There's more than an order-of-magnitude improvement in usable power density if you replace biofuel plantations with an equal area of solar farms for making electrolytic hydrogen from water, plus a synthesis/refiner complex for hydrogenating CO2 and building up liquid hydrocarbons from the resulting methanol. It's also a lot less water-intensive and doesn't require any fertilizer.


Ground transportation is a much larger component than aviation and has known solutions. If we got to 80-100% electric cars and trucks before converting one turbofan to <unknown alternative> it would still be major progress.

And in the worst case there are always biofuels or synthetic non-fossil liquid fuels, which are a lot more carbon neutral after you convert the energy that goes into their production away from fossil sources.


Right, now that ground transportation is close to being solved, we need to get creative with air travel. It's about 2% of global emissions and it's a much harder problem.

> It's about 2% of global emissions

If we can cut 98% of emissions we'll be fine. 2% is not worth worrying about. While it may be a sexier engineering problem reality is ground transportation isn't close to being solved.

Gas cars still have huge momentum and infrastructure advatanges. No electric cars is being targeted for the mass low end demographic. We need the Honda civic of electrics.


Hybrid electric jet engines are being developed, and have real potential to improve fuel economy. A substantial improvement in fuel economy could mean carrying less fuel, which in turn improves fuel economy.

But if you’re talking about plug-in electric, the challenge is presumably battery weight versus fuel weight.


Yes, they'll still probably have to carry liquid fuel because nothing else has the energy density required. But maybe we can make this fuel from a carbon-neutral source instead of oil pumped out of the ground.

Research is coming along. https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/10/tonight-a-virgin-atl... It's not at the point yet where we can take CO2 out of the air, but we can probably take exhaust fumes from power plants or steel mills and make something useful out of it.

"The stone age did not end for a lack of stone, and the oil age will end long before the world runs out of oil." S. Yamani

The Energy Information Administration estimates that the US has 234*10^9 barrels of oil in reserves (unproven but technically recoverable). At today's rate of production that's about 64 years. S. Yamani's quote sounds very likely to come true.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil_reserves_in_the_United_Sta...


The volume of "technically recoverable" oil increases with price though, since a higher cost per bbl can justify more expensive extraction. Somewhere around $70-$100 bbl, shale oil becomes economical to extract, and the US and Canada have trillions of barrels worth of the stuff.

We're never going to run out of oil in the sense that oil will become unavailable, not in 64 years, and not in 640 years. Oil will become more expensive, and eventually, price increases will diminish and eventually stop the use of oil as an energy source. It'll always be available for use as an industrial feedstock and for use in highly specialized situations.


The issue is 200+$ a barrel oil is mostly useless.

The world runs on cheap oil, not just oil. And the supply of cheap oil is finite.


Oil that is considered cheap today would have been considered irretrievable fifty years ago. That's the whole point of the quote.

I don't agree that $200/bbl oil would be useless: there's plenty of room at that price point for aviation and industrial chemistry. But it doesn't matter, because there are trillions of barrels of unconventional oil available at between $80-$100/bbl. That's expensive, but not infeasibly so. Short-lived supply shocks notwithstanding, there's no reason oil should rise above that price for a good long time.

What hopefully will happen is that electricity from non-fossil fuels will become cheap enough and technology will become advanced enough that humans can create hydrocarbons from the air and water (CO2 and H2O) at a price that keeps those trillions of barrels in the ground. Or at least lets us stop burning them.

Sure. The simultaneous trends toward cheaper low-emission sources and more expensive fossil fuels will force a switch at some point. We'll also need negative emissions (i.e., atmospheric carbon removal) at some point too.

Now, will it be more expensive to keep drilling and remove the emissions than it will be to cook long-chain hydrocarbons? It's not clear. And it doesn't really matter, since either way you can hit a carbon target.


The richer we become, the more cheap oil there will be.

I realize you got down voted to hell but that sentence explains so much. I think that one of the bigger problems when people talk about climate or any number of different things they don't appreciate wealth. There's a group of people who look at money in a bank account as just a bunch of numbers. That there's nothing "real" behind those numbers.

Then we can only hope people will continue to be greedy, and global warming should go extinct!

Great if true, but color me skeptical.

Almost anytime there is a story like this, the fine print is that renewables are only “cheaper” because of government subsidies. Is that the case here?

Also, cheaper in some situations (e.g. hydro power for purchasers right next to a dam) does not mean cheaper when scaled to a whole country. Is that the case here?


Globally, conventional fossil fuels receive greater subsidies (nominally, not $/MWh) than renewable power. Estimated to be up to $6 trillion when considering indirect subsidies [1] and $260 billion when only considering direct cash subsidies [2].

[1] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0305750X1... [2] https://www.iea.org/newsroom/news/2017/december/commentary-f...


I can't take this too seriously because most of the subsidies they talk about are actually externalities for which cost estimates are extremely imprecise. This is a real thing, but lumping them together with actual subsidies feels misleading. Also not sure why a nominal comparison is meaningful. The actual impact in terms of resource allocation will be due to $/MWh.

Coal alone kills a million people a year worldwide. If we take the EPA's value of a statistical life of about $10 million, that's effectively $10 trillion in subsidies just for coal deaths.

We don't typically consider being allowed to pollute to be a subsidy, but we really should.


How many people die because of insufficient access to medicine caused in part by lack of infrastructure like reliable power?

How many dollars spent on the additional cost of clean power could instead go to things that would improve people’s health, be it health care or something more indirect (like healthier food, better sanitation, or even vacations)?

Quantifying all externalities is a questionable endeavor.


$10 million per person fails the sniff test

Global GDP per capita: $17,300 Global life expectancy: 72 72 * 17300 = $1,245,600 upper bound


Sure, that’s the “if.” Although even the monetary value of a life is probably more than just the economic contribution.

What are migratory birds worth? Are endangered birds worth a bonus?

Wind-turbine-related bird deaths approach 57 million per year. https://abcbirds.org/wind-energy-threatens-birds/


It’s not like fossil fuel pollution is benign to wildlife.

Does it really make sense to call bird deaths from power lines “wind turbine related” just because those power lines serve wind turbines? You’d still need them if you used another source of energy.


That is not the case here. The term everyone in the energy industry uses now is the "LCOE" (levelized cost of electricity) that does an apples-to-apples comparison (e.g. removes subsidies). For example, the investment firm Lazard puts out an annual comparison report on the LCOE and last year wind was cheaper than natural gas on an unsubsidized LCOE basis and solar is getting within a dollar per megawatt-hour of natural gas[1].

However, raw solar and wind only gets you to about 50% penetration before you start having to add storage in addition to renewables, and that is still about 5-10 years away from being cheap enough to take us from 50% to >90%[2].

[1]: https://www.lazard.com/media/450337/lazard-levelized-cost-of...

[2]: https://www.lazard.com/media/450338/lazard-levelized-cost-of...


It is not accurate that LCOE provides apples-to-apples comparisons. For examples, there is no value for dispatchability. As EIA explains, “The direct comparison of LCOE across technologies is, therefore, often problematic and can be misleading as a method to assess the economic competitiveness of various generation alternatives because projected utilization rates, the existing resource mix, and capacity values can all vary dramatically across regions where new generation capacity may be needed.” https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/aeo/pdf/electricity_generation....

The point is that care should be taken to compare various types of generation and LCOE isn’t a good measure to do that.


For the scope of this discussion, is there a better measure?

Solar and wind power have the cost trend of a technology. Not quite Moore's law, in that the percentage drop per unit time is less, but the important point is that it is an exponential decline.

Fossil fuels have the cost trend of a commodity; it goes up, it goes down, it goes up, depending on demand. Whereas technologies have a cost that drops as demand goes up, commodities have a cost that rises as demand goes up.

This means that commodities can remain cheaper than the technology for a long time, and then suddenly lose that advantage, and when they do they will probably never get it back.


You seem to be under the impression that fossil fuels are not subsidized by governments everywhere.

That's a wonderful news but damn, that image by IRENA Renewable Cost Database it's awful.

My thoughts exactly. A repeating axis that goes "2010-2017-2010-2017"? It would be difficult to make it less intuitive.

Unfortunately renewable energy economics has to fight against the way that human minds perform time discounting. A wind energy product may be more economically efficient over its lifetime, but a coal-firing plant costs less today, even if fuel costs will add up over time. So these encouraging numbers may not obviate the case for government action in encouraging the uptake of renewable energy.

This is, on balance, great news. However, when it happens, nations like Saudi Arabia and Russia (that depend on oil revenue) will encounter a cataclysmic change in their situation. Are we actually ready for a world in which Saudi Arabia and Russia have cratering economies? It could get ugly.

I agree with this. But on the contrary, nations like Saudi could also go with the trend and opt in to using renewable energy such as solar as same goes to Russia. One must adapt to changes in order to allow balance. But yes, as we know, it will come with risk, much as been said, fossil fuel is also one of the things that deteriorate our environment and leave a mark. They either can have less the usage of fossil fuel or reserve it as for larger market such as aviation fuels or with in a large scale of industries and reduce as day to day usage basis.

Oh yes, stranded assets are a real threat to incumbent energy companies (the term in the energy industry is called the "Carbon Bubble")[1]. Luckily, Wall Street is starting to generally favor financing new renewable over new fossil fuel sources (since stranded assets are a much greater risk for fossil assets), and in a fight between Big Banks and Big Oil, Big Banks win every time.

[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_bubble


Saudi Arabia will probably become uninhabitable as temperatures rise. That’s gonna be a mess.

Subsidized renewables or at full cost?

Full cost. The investment firm Lazard puts out an annual report on the LCOE (levelized cost of electricity, e.g. subsidies removed), and this past year wind was cheaper than natural gas[1].

[1]: https://www.lazard.com/media/450337/lazard-levelized-cost-of...


That is absolute nonsense. It excludes intermittency and integration costs. Just from skimming it almost every variable chosen is favorable to renewables and the worst possible case for fossil fuels.

The notion that solar is cheaper than coal as a peak power source in a developing nation like india with significantly higher costs of capital is laughable.


Hmmm, I feel like your sources of information are years out of date. Care to elaborate on your sources?

First, intermittency and integration costs are a huge straw man because they aren't a problem until you get well over 50% penetration of non-dispatchable generation (e.g. renewables)[1]. For the first 50% of the transition, solar or wind by themselves are way way cheaper[2], and by the time batteries are needed at scale, they will be cheap enough to make dispatchable renewables cost competitive[3].

Second, India is currently building way more solar than coal[4]. Also, they are expecting solar + storage to be cheaper than coal within 8 years[5]. So your assertions about India are way out of date.

I'm a bit worried why you still believe the renewable intermittency is a problem or why coal is cheaper. Your "laughable" confidence is likely to lead to you completely missing out on the profits from deploying renewables and storage. Oh well, I guess more money for me then.

[1]: https://users.ece.cmu.edu/~smithv/docs/renewables_sgc_2013.p...

[2]: https://about.bnef.com/blog/tumbling-costs-wind-solar-batter...

[3]: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-10-09/how-the-w...

[4]: https://cleantechnica.com/2018/08/13/62-of-capacity-added-in...

[5]: http://www.climatechangenews.com/2018/02/23/coal-india-repor...


And subsidized fossil fuels?

Good point. They should compare like with like and neither with subsidies otherwise you're just measuring which has the biggest government discount by proxy.

How can you meaningfully separate subsidies from full costs?

For example if governments fight wars to keep oil supplies running do we count that as a subsidy? Is diplomacy to keep a gas pipeline open a subsidy? Is building roads to transport fossil fuels a subsidy? What about building national grids to transport renewable electricity?

No fuel system on earth operates without infrastructure subsidised by the government.


In the case of the national grid, here in the US with _very_ few exceptions, the price of electricity includes the cost of generation and the transmission grid. These are not socialized through the tax system.

The exceptions include the Federal power marketing agencies [1] charged with marketing power from the hydro dams built during the Great Depression. While their initial cost was born by the country, their ongoing operation and maintenance costs are recouped from Transmission Access Charges.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_Area_Power_Administrat...


I agree, but entirely ignoring subsidies also won't inform you when renewables have reached the magical point when they become the "obvious" thing to do regardless of global climate change. When they become cheaper than oil/gas without a penny of government discount, then no matter how you slice it renewables have "won." Game over. They will be the future.

Environmental benefits, unfortunately, haven't been enough for them to win. The financial battle is really the thing that will tip the scales.


If we talk subsidies, we also need to talk taxes on fossil fuels as well.

Well, that's great, surprising news.

Nuclear is a better economic option already.

The only thing that’s going to fix global warming is making carbon based fuel prohibitively expensive through some kind of carbon tax.

Energy demand is fairly elastic and if energy is free or cheap, people will just use more of it, leaving us just where we started. See how bitcoin miners are abusing subsidized renewable energy for example.


I don't think we should worry about the total quantity of energy consumed. The wonderful thing about the market is that it finds its own level: once externalities are properly Incorporated into prices, the quantity produced and consumed (which must be idential at equilibrium) will settle at a level that priorities competing concerns appropriately. Who's to say that this equilibrium level is somehow wrong?

And what's wrong with miners using cheap electricity? The argument seems to go something like "that subsidy is meant for productive activity and Bitcoin mining isn't productive". Who's to say it isn't productive? The market things it is. What is the market getting wrong? What externality is it not incorporating?


It doesn't matter net if some people switch from fossil fuels to renewables, and then somebody else starts using the cheaper fossil fuels for some marginal economic activity that's now feasible with lower fuel costs.

It doesn't matter if people use more if it's renewable. Cheap renewables cause energy use to go up? Hooray!

If the renewable energy isn’t displacing what would have been non renewable energy use it doesn’t matter. A glut of renewable energy ends up making gas cheaper which means gas gets used more for things that it wasn’t economical for before which means we’re exactly where we started.

If it's cheaper than non-renewable energy then it will displace that usage.

Price is a signal.



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