Documentary: The Breakthrough in Renewable Energy (VPRO Backlight Video)

The following documentary video from the Dutch public broadcasting agency VPRO provides an interesting perspective about the implications of the falling price of wind and solar energy. The thesis of the video is that now the unsubsidized cost of solar and wind energy is cheaper than fossil fuels, and having reached this crossover point, the financial equation has changed with major investment now flowing into the renewable energy sector.

The point is made that energy prices for renewables is predictable and stable, compared to the price fluctuations in the fossil fuel markets. Manufacturing costs are easier to predict than the ever-changing costs of commodities.

The documentary also examines the issue of energy storage. While the pure cost of energy from wind and solar are dropping quickly, they are intermittent energy sources and there are still challenges in the area of energy storage which need to be addressed. A couple of energy storage projects are featured: a Dutch plan using electric car batteries to provide electricity at night, and a system on El Hierro, one of the Canary Islands where a reservoir is used to produced hydroelectricity when the wind is not sufficient to turn wind turbines.

The phrase “tipping point” is mentioned here, and significant momomentum seems to be building in many parts of the world towards renewable energy projects, with decisions now based on economics rather than purely environmental considerations.

I think the video is well worth watching — it’s very well made and interviews key decision maker and industry leaders from around the world. The global energy picture is rapidly changing, even without the potentially revolutionary introduction of LENR, and LENR companies will need to factor in these changes in their business decisions. LENR will need to compete not just against coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear, but against the momentum behind wind and solar — where investments are growing and prices are dropping.