Renewable Energy Is Suddenly Startlingly Cheap

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Contributed date

April 30, 2021 - 8:30am

Critical Commentary

This article provides a great overview of the changes and transitions in energy that are being witnessed at the moment and that have made more than significant advances in the last three years. A non-profit, environmentalist agency (Carbon Tracker) has documented the steady decrease in prices for solar energy extraction. Our ability to extract energy from the sun has been increased and improved to the point we are now able to extract 6700 PWh pa. (petawatts per hour) of solar energy, essentially 100 times more energy than we actually demand globally at the moment. Such an energy extraction calls for more support for and accelerated energy transitions, but it brings to light questions about energy storage. Where will all of this energy collected be stored if it is not readily used? Will it be lost in the long run? Additionally, the article also discusses the potential for renewable energy distribution across countries via hydrogen storage batteries, particularly to the countries that have little potential or little avenues to use renewable energy sources.

The article calls for a move to environmentalist understandings of renewable energy and energy production, a view that provides equitable sources and equitable distribution of energy to any and all people across the globe. If we wish to slow down the negative effects of climate change, which are succinctly but efficiently discussed in the article, we need to provide avenues for energy transition even in the poorest countries and it needs to happen now. Once we realize climate change spares no one, we will be able to implement effective, equitable, and durable forms of energy production, storage, and distribution.


McKibben, B. (2021, Apr 28). "Renewable Energy Is Suddenly Startlingly Cheap." The New Yorker. Retrieved from

Cite as

Billie McKibben, "Renewable Energy Is Suddenly Startlingly Cheap", contributed by Briana Leone, The Energy Rights Project, Platform for Experimental Collaborative Ethnography, last modified 30 April 2021, accessed 21 June 2024.