So what’s stopping us? Partly cost, says Wolff. Hovering at around 10-20 US cents per kilowatt hour, CSP “looks a little bit on the expensive side”, compared with gas at about 5 cents. But this is likely to change when the volumes increase, he says. Indeed, three studies carried out by the German aerospace industry suggest that CSP could eventually become one of the cheapest sources of electricity in Europe. “Until about 2017, electricity from CSP will probably be more expensive,” concludes Wolff. But then, as economies of scale kick in, it will become cheaper and increasingly attractive.
As I keep noting, I really don’t think that, even if we take everything the IPCC is saying as gospel truth, that climate change is going to be as big a problem as everyone else seems to think. As and when non carbon (solar isn’t non carbon but it is low carbon) electrcity generation is as cheap as fossil fuel including carbon costs then we’ll all naturally switch to it.
We’re not far off that point as it is. When we get there then all we have to do is wait as the capital cycle replaces the wearing out fossil fuel systems with the new cheaper non fossil fuel systems. Here in Europe we’ve already got the carbon taxes/cap and trade permits needed to price carbon properly. The technological advances are creating those non carbon generating systems at the right sort of prices.
We’re done pretty much. The systems we needed to put into place to generate these technologies have done so: we’ve already done what we needed to do.
No, I mean it. Once we’ve got cheap non fossil fuel electricty everything else falls into place.