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Saturday, September 26, 2015

Four Trends Driving Profitable Climate Protection

We love the sound of "profitable climate protection".  There is nothing better for us than seeing the positive financial gains of investing in transformation and seeing the green economy  booming across the globe.

This is a great article.  We will break it up into pieces as it is long, but well worth reading, considering, following.



This week is the seventh Climate Week NYC. The annual event brings together influential global figures—and new voices—from the worlds of business, government, and society who are leading the low-carbon transition. We live in an exciting time, when more companies and investors are committed to bold climate leadership than at any other time in history. RMI/CWR is proud to be part of Climate Week. We know that the transition to a low-carbon economy is essential, and is the only pathway to long-term sustainable economic growth. Bold climate action is not a burden, but a historic opportunity!
Today kicks off Climate Week NYC, the seventh such annual event. But it was four years ago that Rocky Mountain Institute’s (RMI’s) Reinventing Fire predicted that “climate protection…will be led more by countries and companies than by international treaties and organizations, more by the private sector and civil society than by governments, more by leading developing economies than by mature developed ones, and more by efficiency and clean energy’s economic fundamentals than by possible future carbon pricing….” How are those four shifts doing?

CLEAN ENERGY’S ECONOMICS LOOKING BETTER AND BETTER

In 2013 alone, renewable energy other than big hydropower received $254 billion of global investment; energy efficiency, $310–360 billion; and cogeneration of electricity with useful heat, about $70 billion. These three carbon-savers thus attracted about $650 billion of capital in one year.
Long-term fixed-price contracts to sell new U.S. windpower and utility-scale solar power have lately averaged below $0.025 and $0.04 per kWh, respectively. Those are net of federal subsidies, but wind’s has expired, solar’s will drop by two-thirds at the end of next year, and both will still win (though not as quickly in as many places) despite fossil fuels’ larger, decades-old, permanent subsidies. Unsubsidized wind and solar will still average below $0.04 and $0.06 per kWh respectively, beating new fossil-fueled plants by two- to three-fold and closing many as simply uneconomic.
That’s exactly what’s happening. In the next 15 years, fossil-fueled plants are expected to halve their capacity growth (not counting bigger retirements), renewables to double theirs. A simultaneous shift of scale to what the Economist calls “micropower”—renewables minus big hydro, plus cogeneration—now has half the new generation market and produces one-fourth of the world’s electricity.

Cheaper still is energy efficiency, with utilities’ programs averaging $0.02–0.03 per kWh and optimally designed investments often much less—even below zero. Moreover, efficiency dwarfs even the quarter-trillion-dollar and 80-billion-watt annual additions of global renewable energy (other than big hydro dams). U.S. energy savings since 1975, mostly from smarter technologies, have cut cumulative energy use 31 times more than renewable growth raised supplies. Yet efficiency remains invisible while the renewables sprouting on roofs and landscapes enjoy the limelight. Despite U.S. renewables’ rapid growth, savings’ growth in 2014 was three times bigger...."

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