The Dec. 29 letter “Backups for renewable energy” asserts that the Dec. 15 letter “Renewable energy cheaper, better” didn’t consider clean energy’s “unseen” costs. Well, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports that the hidden costs of fossil fuels have come to over $2 trillion in climate disasters — and those costs will soon be astronomical.
There’s also the human cost of carbon pollution from burning fossil fuels. Studies indicate that it kills more than 10 million people per year — far more than COVID-19 ever will — and that over 1 million of those annual deaths are in the United States.
As for consumer costs, United States solar and wind energy are already coming in at as little as 1 to 2 cents per kilowatt-hour, while fossil fuels average about 12 cents per kilowatt-hour.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology states that, since 1980, the price of solar/wind energy has plummeted 99%, and it will continue to drop every year.
As for the claim in the “Backups for renewable energy” letter that solar and wind need coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear to solve intermittency problems, Stanford University issued another report verifying that the U.S. (and the world) can easily run on 100% clean energy alone — with zero nuclear or fossil fuels needed for backup. That’s because battery storage today is as cheap as solar/wind energy. It’s being installed for almost all new solar and wind. Battery storage for clean energy in the United States increased by 20% in 2019 and 35% in 2020. We just need to get more of it installed, along with more solar and wind. The more there is, the faster the prices drop.