How solar and wind got so cheap, so fast

The Atlantic reports: A funny change has happened this year: People have become tepidly optimistic about climate change.

That’s not because the UN climate negotiations currently underway in Paris look like they might succeed, or because the United States is finally getting serious about a clean-energy policy. And it’s not because humanity is any less likely to overshoot the 2-degree Celsius target that spells dangerous levels of global warming.

No, it’s because the two renewable-electricity-generating technologies that advocates hope will one day power much of human society—solar and wind—have both plunged in price in recent years. According to a recent report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, on-shore wind is competitive with fossil-fuel-burning plants in many parts of the world. And if you factor in coal’s devastating public-health costs, it’s already much more expensive than solar or wind. [Continue reading…]

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