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DisasterousGiraffe OP t1_jaryg79 wrote

> country that has completely switched over to renewables

In predicting the future of renewable electricity generation it is very important to base our predictions on future renewable prices, not on historic prices, because renewables are getting much cheaper relative to other sources, such as coal, gas and nuclear. Existing installed generating capacity was all purchased at historic prices when renewables were more expensive.

Looking into the future we can see the US is switching to a fully renewable electricity grid. This transition is happening even with current renewable prices. The 2023 planned additions and retirements according to the EIA are

Planned 2023 Capacity New Retirement Change
Solar 29.1 GW 0 +29.1 GW
Batteries 9.4 GW 0 +9.4 GW
Wind 6.0 GW 0 +6.0 GW
Nuclear 2.2 GW 0 +2.2 GW
Natural Gas 7.5 GW 6.2 GW +1.3 GW
Coal 0 8.9 GW -8.9 GW

A massive increase in solar pv, wind and batteries, and a massive decrease in coal. Not much change in natural gas, but we know from Swanson's law the volume manufacture of solar pv will continue to bring down the price and lead to a spiral of increasing manufacturing capacity and reducing price. Similarly, wind turbines are getting cheaper but at a slower rate. These bite into the profitablility of natural gas electricity generation by making the gas plants into peaker plants, which are approximately twice as expensive per kWh as continuously operating plants. The gas peaker plants are then more expensive than, and have difficulty competing with, grid-connected batteries. Batteries are also increasing in volume and falling in price partly because the auto industry is going all-in with BEVs which already have 14% of the global market in 2022. BEV sales are increasing at a conservative estimate of 30% per year which means they also represent a second significant threat to the oil and gas industry by reducing gasoline consumption - gasoline being the major component of crude oil.

The wikipedia list of countries by renewable electricity generation needs updating from mostly historic 2016 numbers, but may give sources for its country-related renewable electricity data. The changes since 2016 might be similar to Australia which has significantly increased solar and wind generation in the last 10 years. (The chart of total energy consumption by Australian state shows a less optimistic picture of the transition from fossil fuels - the need to electrify more of the world's energy usage.)


ajmmsr t1_javjq2b wrote

Speaking to the future one could also argue that there will be fusion someday and because of its energy density it will be economically much cheaper than any other form of power generation.

Helion Energy is already 95% net electric and their upcoming 7th generation reactor should be slightly net positive, if all goes well in 2024 then commercialization will proceed. They have estimated they could initially produce 20 50W reactors a year.

Exciting times