EcoFacts: Sunny Energy Outlook in 2015

Updated on January 3, 2015 at 4:42 am.

For ecofacts 10th year, we begin with good news in the energy realm boding well for 2015.

A glut in the oil markets mean less profitable production. How’s that Keystone pipeline looking now?

Gas-price-down-arrow8Humorous perspective I thought, in a headline from USA TODAY: Oil prices fall 46% in 2014, worst since 2008 Terrible, isn’t it? And so gasoline and heating oil prices are down – for drivers that’s $500-600 for a year, average.Most of us heat with natural gas and much of our electricity comes from it as well. Those prices dropped 32% in 2014, due to some extent to fracking, and new drilling for it now becomes less profitable, being more expensive than conventional. And though Santa Barbara voted its ban down, two other counties did vote to ban it, along with New York and many other places.

In June the EPA vowed by 2030 to “cut carbon emission from the power sector by 30 percent nationwide below 2005 levels, which is equal to the emissions from powering more than half the homes in the United States for one year” and will decrease rates of asthma and premature death.

Solar now costs less than buying electricity from the utilities in California and Deutsche Bank predicts in 2 years this will be true in practically every state. Electric heating and cooking will becoming more attractive, requiring less fracked gas!

Energy storage is an issue for wind and solar, other than rooftop grid connected solar, and battery costs are going down by 15% each year. “Citigroup last week cited $230/kWh as the key mark where battery storage wins out over conventional generation and puts the fossil fuel incumbents into terminal decline.” This will happen within two or three years.

Speaking of batteries, the Tesla S is among the best selling luxury cars in U.S. (no.1 best in 2013), and it costs $5 for a charge to go over 200 miles. Rich, cool people get to spend even less to drive. I drove one once (albeit very briefly), and it was indeed spectacular.

I also got lucky and tried a hydrogen fuel cell car, similar – extremely quiet and smooth, fast acceleration. Now if hydrogen can be produced with little or no fossil fuels, like our local Hypersolar is working on… then YES! much better than electric. Here is a well researched bit on that technology.

Happy New Year, dear ecofacts readers!

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