Climate and Clean Tech | July 21, 2023

Renewables go exponential, but is that fast enough?

Amy Cortese
ImpactAlpha Editor

Amy Cortese

ImpactAlpha, July 21 – As much of the planet withers under historic heat, here’s some cool news: the energy transition is happening even faster than you might think.

The continued momentum of falling prices, increasing capacity, public policy and adoption S-curves suggests exponential growth for the rest of the decade, according to a new report from RMI. “The faster it goes, the faster it gets,” write the think tank’s Kingsmill Bond and Sam Butler-Sloss.

In the same way that Moore’s Law spurred innovation to keep on track, the expectation of the exponential growth of renewables itself spurs progress.

“A deep case for hope and agency is at the logical core of exponential change: more begets more,” the authors say. “Each cent shaved off a watt of solar brings more deployment which opens up the possibility to cut the next cent. And each solar panel installed on a roof increases the chances of a neighbor buying the next.”

RMI predicts solar and wind power capacity will grow by 3 to 4 times by 2030, while costs of solar – already the lowest cost source of energy – will be fall by another 50% by the end of the decade.

“Falling costs unlock renewables globally and are a superior tool for more equitable economic development,” they write.