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NY Times Op-Ed: Attacking solar like "sabotaging armaments factories during a mobilization for war"

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If you missed it, the Sunday New York Times had a superb, clear-eyed op-ed by Solarcentury chairman Jeremy Leggett, entitled Don't Block the Sun. The entire piece is excellent, and we strongly recommend it. For now, here are a few highlights.

  • Right now, we're in the midst of a battle between the "third industrial revolution, powered by decentralized energy and massive digital connectivity," and the "residual institutions of the second industrial revolution, powered by oil and 20th century transportation habits, [which] threaten to hold this third revolution back, maybe kill it."
  • "Solar, with its soaring global sales and plunging prices, featured as a talisman for the third industrial revolution. Fracked gas featured as a flag carrier for extending the life of the second industrial revolution."
  • "If you worry about both [energy security and climate change], on a globe en route to six-degrees warming — a level that threatens the very future of civilization — then an assault on the solar industry becomes akin to sabotaging armaments factories during a mobilization for war."
  • "Working cooperatively, focused on common security, [governments] could greatly accelerate the day solar energy is cheaper than all other forms, and feed-in tariff subsidies are no longer needed....greatly foster[ing] their own domestic energy security in so doing."

Bottom line: for a host of reasons, it is urgent that we accelerate the transition from a dying era of dirty energy to a prosperous and sustainable economy based on clean energy. Spending our time and efforts focused on "bridge fuels" (e.g., fracked natural gas) would appear to be, in this context, at best a distraction from the main task at hand.