In order for renewable energy to be a viable energy source for the future it has to have a market space to operate in. This concept is not unique to energy but true for any profitable product line. If the space is not available, then most companies or governments will figure out ways to create the market space. It takes a lot of money to create an opening in the market and many times the best products don’t make it to the consumers.
When you narrow down that market to just energy to produce electricity, cheap will allows win in a deregulated market. For a niche market space a better product will survive because the consumers want better, not cheaper. There is no such thing as better electricity because an electron is an electron (law of physics). In order for wind and solar to succeed, the other sources have to be completely removed or at the least restricted by one of two means: government regulations or a lot of competitive money.
The first and still a very effective source for electricity was hydroelectric power from the Niagara Falls generating a direct current (DC) to New York City implemented by Thomas Edison. His chief engineer, Nicola Tesla had a better idea for a delivery system but didn’t have a market space to compete in. Tesla left Edison and joined up with George Westinghouse and started to offer a cheaper solution with Tesla’s alternating current (AC). Both systems delivered the same electricity but AC won out because there was more money behind it.
There are only so many places that electricity can be generated from water flow because there are only so many rivers that can be damn to create stored fuel for energy. Coal was already being used as a heat source so it was only natural to use that heat to create steam to turn the generators instead of flowing water. Coal was a stored energy source and the US had plenty of it. Coal fired generating plants starting popping up everywhere to create the electricity that completely transformed the industrial age to the greatest epoch of humanity since the beginning of mankind.
Coal had no competition until oil came along. Oil has never been able to displace coal because coal was already the cheapest market source and oil did not really provide a better product for generating electricity. But oil did have an opportunity to create niche markets with better transportation fuels and was able to displace the coal fired trains. Refined oil was also a more convenient way to provide fuel for the combustion engines used in cars, trucks, trains, planes, etc. At this point, coal and oil both had their market shares.
While coal and oil both contributed to winning WWII, another energy source was given credit for ending WWII in the Pacific theater with a couple for every powerful energy explosions – the atom bomb. This energy source was 1,000,000 times more energy dense than coal or oil. That presented a serious problem for the future of coal, oil and gas (O&G) as a viable fuel source for generating electricity. Nuclear energy quickly became the new kid on the block and a government sweetheart for the Department of Defense (DOD). Before you knew it, nuclear power plants are popping up all over the place.
That is when the environmentalist were leveraged to create a distraction with anti-nuclear movements against the government’s continued love relationship with nuclear toys like advancing atom bombs to thermonuclear weapons testing in the remote South Pacific. The environmental movement is now becoming big business still supported by big O&G money to control the energy market spaces. Big business is more concerned about saving the bottom line than saving the environment.
O&G has now decimated the coal industry with cheap natural gas. The O&G lobbies have turned the government against coal also and at the same time backed up the non-threatening renewable wind and solar industry. Renewable wind and solar cannot survive on just being a better product and requires natural gas (NG) as a base load source for 24 hour service. With cheaper renewable year after year and grossly cheap NG, the nuclear industry is being forced out of the market at the cost of the environment.
Palo Verde nuclear power plant near Phoenix AZ is the latest nuclear plant being threatened by big money. In this case, Palo Verde is still making a good profit supplying 79% of AZ clean electricity as well as other states (CA, NV, NM, & TX). However billionaire energy speculator Tom Steyer, who has made billions off of O&G, intends to protect his interest by openly supporting legislation to implement 50% renewable energy requirements in AZ by 2030 and to force an early decommission of Palo Verde nuclear power plant. This would be the worst thing for AZ because NG would be the primary replacement energy, not renewable wind and solar. This affects New Mexico also and both states will increase greenhouse gases instead of reducing it. Guess who the winner is?