22 january 2016

Why Solar and Wind Are Thriving Despite Cheap Fossil Fuels

Low oil prices are rattling stock markets, but investors remain bullish on solar, wind, and other clean energy. Here are three reasons why.

By Wendy Koch, National Geographic, January 22, 2016

The prolonged plunge in fossil fuel prices is rippling across the globe. Yet it’s barely put a dent in the booming market for clean energy, heralding perhaps a new era for wind and solar.

Oil prices of less than $30 a barrel—the lowest in 12 years—have shaken stock markets and ravaged the budgets of major producers such as Russia and Saudi Arabia. Along with falling gas prices, they’ve slashed the profits of fossil fuel companies, which are delaying dozens of billion-dollar projects and laying off thousands of workers.

In Texas, home to shale-rich oil deposits, once-crowded trailer parks that housed workers are now largely empty.

But solar, wind, and other clean energy? They’re expanding. Last year, they attracted a record $329 billion in investment—nearly six times the total in 2004, according to a report this month by Bloomberg New Energy Finance or BNEF. Wind and solar also installed a record amount of power capacity.


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