Here’s wishing that 2015 will be the most fabulous year you’ve had to date! And since it’s New Year’s Day, at least in the West, let’s cover something pleasant (yeah yeah, I know: something pleasant for a change!).
The Chevy Volt–explained earlier in In Praise of Plug-In Vehicles–has delivered 150 miles per gallon (1.5L/100km) in real time since it was purchased. This is not some biased guess on my part, the car tracks these things for you. Here’s a dashboard readout from this week:
And for those who live in rational countries (if there are any!) that use the metric system:
Now, if only the electric charging were powered by solar or free energy! That will come. By Bloomberg‘s calculations, the world is on track to install 35 times more solar photovoltaics in 2014 than it did in 2006 (52 gigawatts in 2014 versus 1.5 gigawatts in 2006). In the US, the perfect exponential chart of increases in solar electric installed capacity looks like this:
The chart is from the next link, which includes a quote about about solar panels costing 1/10th of what they did in 1998:
In the United States, the annual installed solar PV capacity has grown ~55% per annum since 2001…
The decrease in installed costs can almost entirely be attributed to the drop in module prices, which fell from $5/Watt in 1998 to ~$0.5/Watt in 2013…
And this is from the Washington Post:
Futurist Ray Kurzweil notes that solar power has been doubling every two years for the past 30 years — as costs have been dropping. He says solar energy is only six doublings — or less than 14 years — away from meeting 100 percent of today’s energy needs. Energy usage will keep increasing, so this is a moving target. But, by Kurzweil’s estimates, inexpensive renewable sources will provide more energy than the world needs in less than 20 years. Even then, we will be using only one part in 10,000 of the sunlight that falls on the Earth.
OK, so there’s no way that the economy will hold together long enough to produce the investment in solar Kurzweil expects over the next 14 years, but the technical trend is very clear, even if the installations don’t take place with continuing straight-through exponential growth.
In rich-in-sunshine Australia, solar is definitely on track to overtake coal:
And there are lots of links on the situation here:
The big oil, gas, coal and nuclear companies claim that we need those energy sources in order to power America.
Good news: it’s a myth.
Of course, the naysayers, often well-funded by the Koch Brothers or the fossil fuel companies, claim that for solar to provide all of our electricity, we’d have to cover some humongous percentage of the Earth’s surface to do it. Here’s what it actually looks like based on needs projected out to 2030 (as always, you can click on the graphic to enlarge it):
And I think we can look forward to the dogmatic branch of the scientific community being proved wrong again when truly free energy devices emerge, though Alice Bailey’s book The Externalization of the Hierarchy, written in the 1930’s and 1940’s, says that won’t happen till fairly soon after 2025. I can’t wait!