This is written from the perspective of New England, particularly southern New England, but the argument made by these charts is a bounding one. Namely, as CleanTechnica the original source of the story noted, “Germany has solar resources comparable to Alaska’s (not a joke).” The Levelized Cost of Energy (LCoE) noted here is done for Germany, not New England. But LCoE is free of subsidies, and Germany is a big, wealthy OECD country, so the results are comparable. (No one, to my knowledge, has done such a study specifically for New England.) New England is snowy, but not, in principle, as snowy as Germany.
Basically, we are here. That means that solar, wind, and storage are already cheaper than any fossil fuel source.
The second argument, presented in a single cost, is that EVs have matched the cost of Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles, and that sales of ICE vehicles have peaked. The perspective is international, of course, with an emphasis upon Europe, and not southern New England.
On EVs, I think people need to remember there are five drivers of take-up of EVs, setting aside their benefits for reducing emissions:
- Capital cost of EV after whatever incentives apply.
- Lifetime operating cost of EV relative to ICE vehicle, including energy and maintenance, primarily tires.
- Density of the charging network in driving areas of interest.
- Battery power density capacity for EV, meaning giving range of EV.
- Reliability of EV.
#3 and #4 are in tension. It’s long been expected that the 2020-2030 decade will see two or more breakthroughs on energy storage and capacity. As that happens, and these get rolled out to the marketplace, the pressure to provide dense charging networks will lessen. Similarly, the push to provide charging networks will lessen the pressure on battery innovation, and that froth of innovation will be applied to making EVs cheaper and being better vehicles.
I need to drop something in here. I have read, and I have heard from some so-called environmentalists that they are opposed to EVs, preferring electricity-powered mass transport. Why? They don’t like where and how the Lithium for EV batteries is sourced and where it is. They don’t bring up the obvious comparison question, given that people are not going to do without personal vehicles, where are the materials making the components of ICE vehicles sourced?
So moving on to zero Carbon energy and storage …
And sales of ICE vehicles have apparently peaked: