Read it and weep, Carbon Worshippers.
Facts are, with so much cheap solar electricity around, even if its supply is uneven in any particular locale, (a) the energy storage business will have big incentives to roll out, and roll out fast, (b) technologists and businesses will have big profit incentives to make use of this energy in any way they can, whether it is hydrogen for fueling air transport, or piling on electric drive cars and trucks, and (c) there will be motivation for many as yet on-the-drawing-board technologies to move forward.
Tony Seba looks downright prescient.
The difference is that Ray Kurzweil has studies quantitative profiles of technologies rolling out in depth, producing accelerating returns and accelerating change. The original summary of this claim was in SolarPowerWorld, but hat tip to CleanTechnica for popularizing it.
There are serious implications here, which few, other than Professor Sovacool at University of Sussex and Professor Tony Seba of Stanford University have countenanced, let alone planned for: Economies and employment based upon fossil fuels (will) suffer terribly during this rapid transition, down to the second order businesses. What I mean is that if a company is currently powered by fossil fuel energy, their competitors who switch to solar-plus-storage will have energy costs that are a fraction of theirs, giving them big advantages on costs of operations. And you don’t need to think about manufacturing here, you can think about high technology and data centers.
And I see few local and state governments who are ready for this transition, which will happen whether or not they want it to, without their control. Worse, decisions being made now on energy are mostly ignorant of this Transition. In fact, what should be planned now is leaving fossil fuels and the dislocation of thousands of workers who are currently supported by them. It is hard to make an ethical call here. It was inevitable that given our collective commitment to fossil fuels and the running-of-of-time on the climate clock meant that to make the mitigation schedule, economic disruption of one kind or another was going to happen. If blame is to be had, it should be placed on bones of fossil fuel companies who tried to retard the transition, and upon the government leaders, both Democratic and Republican, in the States, who failed to act despite repeated warnings.
(Update, 23rd April 2016)
So does Michael Osborne …