By: Joey Shorter, Ph.D., Executive Director ELECTRI Foundation and NECA Director of Research
Some people believe there will be little change to the worlds’ energy mix over the next 20 to 30 years. They would say hydrocarbons will remain dominant with renewables providing no more than 10 to 15 percent of total supply over the next two or three decades. The Grantham Institute (see: “The Disruptive Impact of Technology”, Nick Butler, Financial Times, 03-06-17) has tracked and produced analytical data showing solar will take 23 percent of the power generation market by 2040 and 29 percent by 2050.
Additionally, electric vehicles will absorb 35 percent of road transportation by 2035. A third sector will have impact, wind power, taking up another 12 percent of the power market by 2050. In fact, some of the U.S. plains states are already producing 35 – 45 percent of their energy needs through wind power.
In 2016, the US Department of Energy’s research showed battery costs for electric vehicles had fallen 73 percent (from $1,000 per kWh in 2008 to $268 per kWh in 2015). Cost competitiveness of renewables will continue to improve as industrialization of solar, electric transportation, and wind power advance rapidly, especially in the United States and China.
A few facts are certain: solar power remains as the cleanest, most abundant, renewable energy source available; 1 kilowatt of solar power prevents 150 pounds of coal from being mined, and 300 pounds of CO2 from being released; just one day of sunshine meets the world’s energy needs for an entire year!
Watch these videos on impact of solar power and electric vehicles:
Electrical Contractors can move increasingly toward perfecting and capitalizing on solar production installation, storage and maintenance. The Electrical Training Alliance can continue to develop related instructional materials and training for the work to be done to expand solar and wind power components, as well as everything related to powering electric transportation. The McKinsey study from 1980 projected that there would by 900,000 mobile phone subscribers by 2000 – they missed, there were 109 million! The Grantham Institutes’ data projects energy will be cheap and plentiful, but volumes of use will be high with the world population growing to 9 – 10 billion. Hundreds of millions of people will be brought into the energy consumption market as regional economies are transformed with these low-cost energy supplies in Africa and South Asia. Such expansion is sure to bring huge profits for those geared-up to do the work.
NECA Technology – the Project for Applied and Disruptive Technology, explores the world of technology and keeps members informed of what’s happening today, and of what will be launched in the not too distant future. Dr. Joey Shorter has an extensive background in education and experience in translating the work of academics into understandable, practical ideas.