In 2010, investors and governments poured $187 billion into renewables and just $157 billion into natural gas, oil and coal. A big chunk of the renewables investment ($66 billion in subsidies) represents forward-thinking governments nurturing their domestic renewable energy sectors through incentives. But renewables will soon be kicking fossil fuels’ asses even without that support, reports Bloomberg.
“Wind in some cases already is, or can in coming years, be fully cost-competitive with fossil fuels,” [said Peter Brun of wind turbine maker Vestas]. “Fossil-fuel prices will continue to rise, and that increases the competitiveness of new technologies. We are preparing the whole industry for getting off the subsidy-need.”
Of course, a lot of this is going on in Europe, where fossil fuels are more expensive. Renewables in the U.S. aren’t ready to stand on their own without subsidies yet:
In the U.S. the wind industry is threatened by the loss of a tax credit which expires at the end of this year. Vestas has said it may fire 1,600 U.S. workers if the credit isn’t renewed, and Obama in his State of the Union Speech on Jan. 24 urged Congress to “pass clean-energy tax credits.”
h/t Philip Bump