Even scienticians agree: the modest new goals of the new EPA plan for clean power are only making official what the invisible has been waving through like a naked [invisible] traffic cop:
Our best hope for carbon reduction is steep price drops in the cost of generating electricity by wind and solar; in the cost of installing wind turbines and solar panels; and in the cost of storing energy in batteries. If those price drops are achieved, we’ll head toward vast reductions in emissions regardless of what the EPA does. No one is going to pay 12 cents a kilowatt hour for electricity (our current national average) if it can be had for 2 cents a kilowatt hour, all other things being equal.
Coal-use as the source of electricity has been trending downward for a while, for many reasons, and as long a modest rule-making [see Cole’s discussion above] keeps sending signals to the invisible hand, it will continue to do so. But, crappy analogy aside, the bigger news in the in the new rules is the commitments to clean energy R & D. That, coupled with reductions for carbon emissions from power plants will leverage even more research and new businesses to sprout. Even silicon itself will be replaced with cheaper alternatives that bring the price down for solar panels. I remarked to my passengers on a recent road trip down a super bright hot interstate highway that I couldn’t believe we weren’t using all of that glarea [get it?] to generate electricity and connect every city along the way with the power it soaks up on a daily basis. The same goes for the waves that pushed us around along the shore over a clear, windy weekend. Whatever the technological difficulties in doing either of these, let you remind me that we just saw pictures from a space probe we sent to Pluto ten years ago.
That was a year before the first iPhone.
Teaser image: The Beach, Sunset, Gustave Courbet, 1867