We are at an historic junction of human history in which we are transitioning from the age of fossil fuels to the age of renewable and distributed energy, in effect a true paradigm shift. The tide has turned and the worldwide momentum is irreversible. This change is occurring all around the world and has been accelerating dramatically in the last three years.
One of the most critical factors in this accelerated transition is plain and simple, yet financially compelling — economics! Strangely this is seldom highlighted in most articles.
Renewables are in fact cheaper than all forms of fossil fuels especially when you compare all of the relevant factors — initial cost, timing of cash flows (cost of money), absence of any variable costs for decades, superior job creation by a number of magnitudes, no pollution, no huge resultant cleanup costs and few if any health related costs.
The truly interesting and significant dichotomy in this transition is that at this time the greatest threat mankind has ever faced — Climate Change — is upon us and must be address immediately, and at the same time Climate Change also presents us with the greatest investment opportunity of all time!
Climate Change must be addressed, and by far the fastest and cheapest way to address it is with existing renewable technologies — solar, wind and biomass working together connected to distributed energy networks that are far more flexible, extremely resistant to disruption (storms, terrorism) and have a significantly higher proven reliability.
The investment areas are just starting to appear and present themselves and many more will arise as the transition accelerates. It will be the savvy and aware investors and corporations that will take advantage of it. Now that the economics are much more obvious, this will spark the investment community and they will further accelerate the transition. It will become increasingly difficult to ignore the superior financial numbers of renewables, and in the end, the best investment for investors and for the planet will be the same — renewables.
Why are Renewables the Greatest Investment Opportunity in History?
Renewables will be a great and transformative investment because they have all the key characteristics of a great investment. They are simply: Better, Faster and Cheaper!
- Better — it is clean energy, the only truly abundant energy source, available everywhere, has far less financial risk and is the only energy source that strengthens rather than weakens national security.
- Faster — solar scales up as much as 15 times faster than nuclear or fossil fuel plants. There is simply no financial comparison when it comes to speed of building and the time value of money involved.
- Cheaper – due to recent dramatic decreases in price (62 percent for wind and 82 percent for solar) in the past 5 years. These decreases have continued in 2015 and are projected to continue in 2016 and beyond. These do not include other external costs (pollution, health etc.) that are far greater.
The Intrinsic Advantages of Solar Are Dramatic and Insurmountable
1. Solar is abundant, can be utilized in almost any size (wrist watch to city) and available everywhere. One could say that it is the most “democratic” form of energy in existence.
2. Solar is renewable and is not finite as are all other fuels and it is the only source of energy that can easily supply all our long term needs. ** The energy from approximately 2 weeks of sunshine hitting the earth is greater than ALL the energy stored in existing fossil fuels.
3. Solar is the only energy generation technology that does not utilize (and pollute) vast amounts of fresh water. This is a key advantage that is seldom mentioned. However, it is without question, an advantage that is insurmountable.
4. Solar is the only energy source that does not create or emit carbon and further contribute to climate change.
Check out part two of this article in which I discuss a number of my favorite stocks for taking advantage of the transition to renewables.
Lead image: Dawn. Credit: Shutterstock.