Auf Wiedersehen Coal and Oil!

germany_solar_panelsSince Germany, Europe’s biggest electricity market, led the world installing solar farms and offshore wind farms, the share of renewable energy sources more than tripled between 2000 and 2012. Well, guess what? German power prices have plummeted, dropping 27 percent in one year.

Traditional (coal and gas) utilities are losing their market share so rapidly, some are considering halting coal and gas plants, citing severe profit losses. “We have never seen mothballing to this extent,” said Susanne Nies, head of energy policy at the Eurelectric AISBL lobby group.

The renewables boom has caused fossil fuel shares to dive to historic lows. Employment is shifting from dirty energy to clean. Europe’s power demand will be lower in 2020 than in 2010, owing to the democratization of power-generation. By the way: if you think nuclear energy has any relevance, think again. Germany is closing all its nuclear reactors by 2022.

A similar story is starting to unfold in the U.S., where burgeoning rooftop solar panels chomp into the market share of fossil utilities from coast to coast.

Coal and oil are not only rubbish for the atmosphere. They are rubbish for the economy. Let’s hope the new Australian government can read the writing on the wall – before we hit it.

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