Just last summer, renewable energy was considered a booming industry. Stock prices were on an upswing, investors like Hewlett-Packard, Berkshire Hathaway, and Dow Chemical were coming to the table, and President Barack Obama announced a plan to triple renewable energy capacity in federally subsidized housing and make wind and solar energy more accessible to low- and middle-income households. But optimism is fading alongside sinking oil and gas prices.
Articles Tagged: renewable energy
Since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, Germany has been one of the few countries that have successfully moved away from nuclear energy. Germany has so far successfully shut down its nine units that had the capacity of generating enough power for at least 20 million homes in Europe. In fact, the contribution of nuclear power in Germany’s electricity generation has now fallen to just 16 percent and renewables are now the preferred source of electricity generation in the country.
A University of California study has slammed the fairness, efficiency and effectiveness of billions of dollars of so-called green energy subsidies provided by the US government. The study has found the bottom 60 per cent US households by income received about 10 per cent of the value of the four main ‘green energy’ tax credits available, while the top 20 per cent (those with annual incomes above $US75,000) extracted 60 per cent of the benefit.
Electricity generation in Washington State is 79% hydroelectric, 8% nuclear, 6% wind, 4% coal and 3% gas. However, unlike the rest of the world, our huge amount of hydropower is not allowed to be recognized as renewable anymore, thus we have to buy wind from another state and throw away hydro-generated electricity when that wind comes online.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s attempts to get its flagship renewable fuel program back on track is coming at a price for the biofuel industry it has sought to support. In the nearly two years that the EPA has delayed finishing its goals for last year’s Renewable Fuel Standard, the biodiesel industry has been hit hard by the wavering policy, including a slew of bankruptcies and plant idlings that have shrunk the industry rather than grow it.
BC Hydro’s planned project for a hydroelectric dam on the Peace River — known as the Site C dam — is proving to be controversial, with some industry groups panning the plan while touting renewable energy sources such as wind. One wind energy champion recently claimed “it would be a breeze for $10-billion worth of wind-energy projects to inflate B.C.’s economy.”
A black swan event is rarely a single event. Instead, it is a number of occurrences that happen in unison to create an unpredicted outcome. For a black swan event to hit the renewable energy industry, I think it would need to be led by a further decline in fossil fuel prices. Natural gas and coal are the two most direct competitors to solar electricity, but the impact of oil on the solar market shouldn’t be understated.