The Chinese are Smarter Than We Are
A Rant About Energy, Bear With Me
As a follower of renewable energy, wind and solar in particular I was disheartened reading the NY Times article this morning titled "Cost of Green Power Makes Projects Tougher Sell". In essence it outlined regulators nixing renewable projects because the cost of energy would be higher than what users currently pay, and with falling demand we don't really need new sources of energy.
This is all at least somewhat true but it outlines our shortsightedness with relation to our energy future. We currently rely on coal primarily for electricity augmented by natural gas (I'm simplifying but go with me) but as our energy infrastructure gets older we have the choice of building natural gas plants, nukes or renewables.
To me this is an absolute no brainer. Renewables provide a safe, clean source of energy at a fixed cost. No relying on low natural gas prices, no wondering where nuclear waste is going, there's virtually no risk. Add to that the rapidly falling cost of solar (in particular) and you could be subsidizing an industry into energy domination over the next five years. First Solar thinks it can reach grid parity in some areas in the next few years and Yingli and Trina solar are right on First Solar's heals.
China has this figured out. Who do you think China is driving the solar and wind markets right now? It would be stupid for them to build more coal plants and gas plants, they should build renewables for their own safety and future. Can you imagine the impact on China's economy if coal/oil/natural gas prices doubled?
Maybe we just have a short term memory. After all it was a long time ago when oil was $160/barrel and we were wondering why we didn't have a national energy plan. Now that we have an administration that wants to have a plan it is getting stonewalled by congress and big energy. I'm not an advocate of cap/trade or an energy tax. But I am an advocate of SOMETHING. Republicans have a lot to prove to me on this front and I will give them every chance to do it. But if the chant Drill Baby Drill comes up in congress again before we figure out a way to make wind and solar viable in this country (short term, before they stand on their own) I'm going to puke.
And this added cost the NY Times reported was the reason for not approving the wind plant. Take a guess, must be ten bucks a customer right?
0.2%!!! That's it. Each ratepayer's bill would go up 0.2%!!!
I would much rather see another hole drilled in the middle of the ocean or a strip mine than pay an extra $0.10 on my next electric bill. That's outrageous!!
China is smarter than anyone realizes by building as much solar and wind as they can. It will help their energy future and only help to solidify China's growing economic importance. I wish we had the same foresight to spend a minuscule amount of money on wind/solar instead of wasting it on (I'll let you fill in the blanks with whatever you think is wasteful, I'm thinking war).
Until then keep your money invested in Chinese renewable growth. My picks are AMSC (wind), ESLR (solar our sourcing to China) and YGE (solar).
Rant complete. It felt good to get that out. I'm going to go walk across the street hug a tree.
PS. What do you think? Are the Chinese crazy like a fox?