Alternative energies stopped being alternatives. Analysis by Doris Capurro.
The potential depletion of oil wells was the focus of debates, scientific predictions and even was the axis of science fiction books and films. Doris Capurro (LUFT Energía) analyzes the current situation of the sector, in view of the development of renewable energies and sustainable projects in different parts of the planet.
The year 1859 marked a before and after for the energy sector. And for the whole world. It was when the first barrel of oil was extracted in Pennsylvania (United States), from a well 21 meters deep. In the beginning, oil was used as fuel for lamps.
But in 1895, with the appearance of the first automobiles and the need for gasoline to drive them, it was used in large quantities and its demand did not stop growing. For that reason, the great concern in the 20th century was what would happen when it was over.
The Impact of the new renewable energies
However, Doris Capurro affirms that if different indicators are analyzed, there is no doubt that this is “the end of the addiction to oil” because the costs of generating alternative energy fell so much that even the main oil companies evaluate plans to boost the production of oil. gas. In addition, since 2010 the cost of installing equipment and solar energy systems has dropped by 70%.
According to Capurro, the world changed and there will be no turning back: “Alternative energies stopped being alternatives“. They are fundamental and have a greater presence in industries and homes. In the legislations of countries around the world, they constitute an auspicious framework for the development of renewable energies.
For 2010, the predictions of the main agencies indicated that wind power was going to supply 30 gigawatts of electricity worldwide. Fortunately, they turned out to be extremely conservative and by 2016 these projections had been exceeded 16 times
The sun shines more than ever
From the point of view of Doris Capurro, the case of solar energy is even more impressive. Fifteen years ago, the best projection indicated that by 2010, 1 gigawatt of solar capacity would be installed per year. Again, the estimates fell short and, by 2010, that goal was exceeded 17 times. And for 2016, 75 times!
These numbers are more important if we take into account that 91% of solar capacity was installed in the last five years and China quickly emerged as the country with the highest installed solar capacity. In 2000 it did not have more than 20 megawatts of solar energy and in only 15 years it was located above Germany.
The solar capacity installed by the Asian giant has already exceeded 100 GW. In 2017 alone, it incorporated 24 GW of capacity, registering an annual growth of 9% in the last five years.
The law of supply and demand
As with other technologies, such as computer chips and telephones, the costs of solar energy were greatly reduced. In some regions, it already costs half the value generated by burning coal. Everything indicates that with the development of renewable energies and projects of sustainable cities the whole world can sleep peacefully despite the decline of oil wells.
Energy transitions (from biomass to coal, from coal to hydrocarbons) have taken centuries or decades. Thanks to technological innovation, the discussion now is whether this new transition (from hydrocarbons to renewable energy) will take decades or years.