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Disclaimer. After nearly 40 years managing money for some of the largest life offices and investment managers in the world, I think I have something to offer. These days I'm retired, and I can't by law give you advice. I do make mistakes, but I try hard to do my analysis thoroughly, and to make sure my data are correct. Remember: the unexpected sometimes happens. The expected does too, but all too often it takes longer than you thought it would.

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Saturday, December 24, 2016

The inexorable rise of renewables

Across the world, renewables are now cheaper than coal.  Across the world, renewables are replacing coal.

Here from the heart of America is yet more evidence of the inexorable rise of renewables and the fall of coal.


Wind generation has grown by more than 11 million megawatt-hours (MWh) in just a year in the huge ERCOT market of Texas.

The increase, which has driven wind’s share of generation to 48 million MWh in the first 11 months of 2016 from 36 million MWh in the first 11 months of 2015, has displaced over 11.6 million MWh of electricity that would otherwise have been produced at fossil-fired plants. 

A similar shift is occurring across the vast region of middle America served by the Southwest Power Pool (SPP), an area known also as the Saudi Arabia of wind. It includes all or most of Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and significant chunks of other states.

SPP reported having more than 12,000 megawatts of wind capacity in service this year, with as much as an additional 4,000 expected to come online soon.

More than 33,000 megawatts of wind projects are in various stages of development across the region, which—as SPP itself has said—has “more potential wind energy in [its] footprint than SPP could absorb.”

It’s an export industry in the making.

[Read more here]

Trump and his Troglodytes may be successful in removing the 30% tax credit that helps support the switch to renewables.  But I doubt it: there are too many jobs in wind now, more than in oil and coal, and too many Republican states which benefit from wind.  But even if he did, wind power is cheaper than coal and gas even without the tax credit.  And it will continue to get cheaper.

And China and India aren't going to stop their switch to renewables, either.  It's happening.






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