THE COST OF RENEWABLE ENERGY

windmill The WorldWatch Institute, publishers of the annual State of the World report, holds weekly conferences on various environmental and ‘sustainable development’ topics. This week the topic was Renewable Energy, and the transcript is available here . One of the questions was about the cost of various renewable sources and the potential for even cleaner sources to become affordable. The answer:

The cost of generating energy with renewable technologies varies from one technology to the next and from one location to another, depending on the available resources. Wind energy is now the cheapest, at 4-6 cents per kilowatt hour in good sites – and this is a conservative estimate as some producers are now signing contracts for under 3 cents/kWh. Biomass in the U.S. is about 7-9 cents/kWh, and photovoltaics generally range from 25-50, depending on location. First of all, hydrogen and biofuels, pumped storage, etc. are not mutually exclusive, and renewable energy and fuels can be used to produce hydrogen. Worldwatch believes that hydrogen offers tremendous potential for the future. Hydrogen can be used to generate electricity and to fuel transportation; it can be stored and transported. It would facilitate the transition from the consumption of limited, non-renewable polluting fossil fuels to unlimited renewable resources. Hydrogen is clean burning, and if it is produced with renewable energy it avoids the significant external costs associated with the extraction, transport, refining, and burning of fossil fuels. As you mention, hydrogen production is relatively expensive today and we need to develop the proper infrastructure. But costs are expected to decline dramatically over coming years, particularly as governments and industry in the U.S., Japan and the European Union are committed to investing large amounts of money in research and development for hydrogen production and the infrastructure necessary for its transport and use.

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1 Response to THE COST OF RENEWABLE ENERGY

  1. g duffy says:

    Goverment give away. Less than a percent return, bird killers, property values down, total destruction of vista views, sportsmen lose wildlife habitat, strob lights and just Greed Power at it best.

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