Across the world, many utility executives are closely examining alternative power options as it would appear that solar and wind installations will soon become cheaper to build than running traditional power plants. While unsubsidized wind and solar power is not a new topic, the financial implications of building these facilities and the potential undercutting of the traditional coal market is. That topic may become relevant a lot sooner than anyone could have guessed.
Many utility CEOs have started to predict that before long it will be cheaper to construct new wind and solar facilities than to keep older nuclear and coal plants up and running. There must be some pretty substantial evidence causing these executives to lean this way, as some have even made these statements to shareholders during recent, open quarterly earnings calls. That’s a pretty significant action on the part of a CEO.
These predictions, especially if they pan out, have some fairly important implications. First off, if wind and solar truly become a viable replacement for traditional power sources, it could be a death blow to entities that are still against renewable resources and those who don’t buy into the climate change fiasco we face. Furthermore, investors who generally fund utility companies will start investing in renewable sources for reasons other than putting themselves in a positive PR light—they’ll do it because it makes good financial sense! Most importantly, and perhaps obviously, if the industry switches over primarily to wind and solar utilities, it will prove that subsidized alternative energy actually worked. While the government has supported the idea regarding research and development and commercialization, a full-size deployment would mean that they can begin to focus on other environmental areas.
While this is potentially a huge step in the right direction, there would still be some work to be done. Mainly, fossil fuel utilities should still be held accountable for the environmental impact they’ve caused. That won’t be an easy task, and you can bet it will be a highly political one, but having the backing of large-scale wind and solar facilities will help the cause, both financially and ethically.