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The Free Market Is Abandoning Clean Energy

• October 16, 2013 • 2:00 AM

(PHOTO: STEFANO GARAU/SHUTTERSTOCK)

What happened to all of those investments in renewable energy technologies?

Remember being worried about peak oil? Start worrying instead about “peak solar.” As Quartz reported yesterday, “global investment in clean energy is falling off a cliff … just as carbon emissions are predicted to skyrocket.” New investments in solar, wind, and other renewable energy technologies has dropped to $45.9 billion in the most recent fiscal quarter, way down from a high of $78 billion in the same period in 2011.

Why the flight from Earth-friendly fuels? One major reason, says one of the authors of the Bloomberg New Energy Finance report which provided the data in the Quartz article, is the abundance of cheap American natural gas unlocked by fracking. I pointed out that fracking was undermining the economic case for renewables earlier this year in a lengthy piece about the world’s energy future, but I can’t say I’m happy about this supporting evidence.

Oh well. Maybe these robots that install solar panels will save us from cooking the planet!

Vince Beiser
Vince Beiser is an award-winning journalist based in Los Angeles, California. Follow him on Twitter @vincelb.

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