This week’s video blog explores the economics of renewable energy, the decarbonization of our electricity sector, and getting people engaged in local energy generation.
Thanks to increases in system efficiency and economies of scale, prices of solar equipment and installation have been declining (a 60% drop in past 6 years) and are projected to continue to drop in the near future (40% drop in the next 2 years). In fact, prices of renewables are starting to become on par with- or lower than- those of oil and gas. High cost can no longer be used as an excuse to sidestep renewable energy technologies as an alternative to conventional fuels in the future.
Jobs in the clean energy sector have also been growing faster than those in any other sectors in Canada- including the oil sands industry— adding direct economic value to our society. In 2014, 37% of direct employment in Canada was created in the renewable energy industry, encompassing hydro-power, biomass, solar and wind. As more money is generated by clean energy businesses and projects, more capital will be available to be re-invested in the sector - both to spur progress in technological research and development, and to help create more start-up businesses in the sector.
In order to decarbonize our electricity system, businesses and individuals alike need to adapt to a system in which they generate as much clean energy as they consume. We can begin to get there with actions such as installing rooftop solar, conserving energy, switching to green power sources, and investing in community power projects, such as this one.
Since the old ways are no longer working in our favour, we need to transition to a new system where all parties are actively engaged as participants instead of merely as passive consumers of electricity. Some initiatives that can support such a transition, include educational programs that increase public awareness and energy literacy, more comprehensive energy policies, and energy infrastructure and projects that allow consumers to be part of the energy generation system.
Watch the video clip below, and stay tuned for more from Our Power in the upcoming weeks for the launch of our complete video series, along with resources on how you can take action to help get Canada to 100% renewable energy.