In response to the Oct. 26 letter “We’ve heard ‘free energy’ before”:
Nuclear industry claims in the 1950s that its energy would be “too cheap to meter” are very different from those of today’s scientific experts and international financial giants’ projections that by 2030 solar and wind will be “essentially free” (UBS, Financial Times 2018).
Nuclear never came close to being cheap, but solar and wind prices have been dropping exponentially for decades and show no signs of stopping.
In most of the U.S., solar and wind already are cheaper than any fossil fuels — in some states costing only 3-to-4 cents per kilowatt-hour (depending on whether storage costs are included). It’s now cheaper to build a new solar or wind farm than to keep an existing coal plant running.
Economies of scale mean that the more wind and solar we build, the cheaper that energy becomes. And unlike oil, natural gas or coal, clean energy is a technology — not a fuel — so the source of the energy is free. Forever.
Clean energy also creates many more jobs, and they’re local and permanent, unlike the boom and bust of dirty, polluting fossil fuels that have cost Americans over a trillion dollars in climate change disasters.
The fossil fuel industry is still dominant because it essentially bribes governments worldwide — ours included — to get the $5.6 trillion in annual government subsidies that keep it competitive. All this comes at the expense of taxpayers and ratepayers, not to mention the price our children and grandchildren will pay.