Fossil Fuel Industry: You are in for a World of Hurt.
Alongside the disappointing news coverage day to day on environmental issues, it is fortunate that plenty of good news rises to the surface as well. We are still dragging our feet on facing the danger of climate change head on; we are firmly entrenched in the Anthropocene; the oceans continue to be treated like our collective garbage dump – nevertheless, there are many reasons for optimism.
California, United States, is in many ways a shining light. Being the 5th largest economy in the world, its efforts to reduce harmful emissions are non-trivial to say the least. With an ambitious renewable energy target—50 % by 2030—the state is showing the ambition and innovative, forward-thinking that many of us can only dream of in our jurisdiction. Not only does this target fulfil an ethical obligation to the environment and future generations, it provides certainty to business – clearing the way for intensive innovation, economic activity and astounding job creation. It truly is a win-win.
With sensible parameters implemented by the State, the free market is set to do what it does best: determine the most efficient means to deliver on goods and services. In this case, the product is energy and the winner will be predominantly solar. Fossil Fuel industry: you are hereby on notice.
A case in point is the Eland Solar and Storage Center near Los Angeles. With costs to come in at 2¢/kWh for solar power delivery and battery storage at 1.3¢/kWh, the fully developed project will handily undercut the cost of coal and gas. And this comparison, as we know, seldom deals with the “externalities” of polluting industry. In short, the fossil fuel industry has been getting away for decades Scot-free whereby the pollution resulting from their activities being a “public” problem, but the upside/profits being, of course, enjoyed by the private sector.
The Eland project will commence construction in 2022. The battery system component—which will dwarf the current largest array located in South Australia—also has the added benefit of real-time adjustment to demand, easing strain on the grid when it is needed most. Preferable to the metaphoric shoveling of more coal into the furnace I’m sure you’d agree, dear reader.
Come on – let’s go! There’s no time to spare. I want to see other countries, especially Australia, fight to outdo the Eland project in scale and performance.
Can we leave the bulk of the Prehistoric Plant Mash (coal) and Prehistoric Organism Juice (petroleum/gas) in the ground, please?