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Fossil fuels are the energy of the past
化石燃料是过去的能源

图:飞船在太阳周围翻转,NASA

Renewable energy is now as cheap as fossil fuels, without the added cost of destroying human civilization. Between 2010 and 2017, solar and wind costs decreased by 81% and 62%, respectively. These are dramatic gains, making green energy immediately competitive with fossil fuels. In the long-term, it’s like choosing between a coffee and crystal meth. Both will wake you up, but one will make your teeth fall out.
现在,可再生能源和化石燃料一样便宜,并且不会以破坏人类文明为代价。在2010年至2017年期间,太阳能和风能成本分别下降了81%和62%,这取得了巨大成绩,立即使得绿色能源可与化石燃料一争高下。长远来看,这就像在咖啡和冰毒之间做选择,两者都能叫醒你,但其中一种会让你牙齿脱落。

I’ll take the coffee, please.
我会选咖啡,谢谢!

Faster Than You Think: a study from the Annual Review Of Resource Economics‌‌比你想的要快:《资源经济学年鉴》中的一项研究

As you can see in the graph above, wind and especially solar prices have dropped dramatically, far ahead of predictions.
如图所示,风能、尤其是太阳能的价格已跌破了预期。

And investments are following. Renewables are now 61% of net capacity additions globally. In the US alone, the green economy has already created 10 times as many jobs as fossil fuels. In South Africa, they’re looking at a million new jobs from renewable energy by 2050.
投资紧随其后,可再生能源现在占全球净新增能源的61%,仅在美国,绿色能源已经创造比化石燃料多十倍的就业机会。在南非,他们展望到2050年,可再生能源会带来一百万个工作机会。

Developing countries are increasingly leapfrogging past 1800s era fossil fuel technology straight into renewables. They allow for a more distributed grid and use a resource every country has — sun and wind.
发展中国家在18年代以后,越多地跃过化石燃料,直接步入可再生能源。他们让网络更加分散,并使用每个国家拥有的资源-太阳和风。

This is obviously the future, and the complaints of the fossil fuel industry are about as relevant as the whale oil industry in the 1900s. Green energy isn’t just the non-suicidal choice for our grandchildren, it’s the economic choice right now.
显然这是未来,我们对化石燃料行业与19年代对鲸油行业一样都怨声载道。对我们的子孙来说,绿色能源不仅不是自杀性的选择,也是目前的经济选择。

The Great Price Drop
价格大幅下跌

Throughout this piece, I’ll reference a study by Arndt, Arent, Hartley, Merven, and Mondal in the Annual Review Of Resource Economics. Here’s Hartley talking about their results:
整篇文章,我将参考Arndt,Arent,Hartley,Merven和Mondal在《资源经济学年度评论》中的一项研究,这是Hartley关于他们结果的讨论:

Renewable energy is now comparable with the cost of building new coal and nuclear capacity.
现在,可再生能源可与搭建新煤炭和核能的成本相提并论。
This has changed the landscape. There is now a cheap, clean alternative for power generation. There’s no longer this problem of do we decarbonize our power sector and have more expensive electricity — in which case it negatively affects our economy. We’re now finding that because it’s cheaper, it’s actually beneficial to produce greener electricity. (Knowable Magazine)
这改变了现象。现在有便宜,清洁的发电方式。我们不再存在会让部门脱碳和使用昂贵电力的问题,这种情况下会对我们的经济产生负面影响。现在,我们发现,因为价格便宜,产生绿色电能是有益的。(知名杂志)

To reach this conclusion, they reviewed the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) across multiple energy sources. Renewables are dropping the fastest. The interesting thing is that early projections consistently didn’t see this happening. Analysts saw renewables continuing to be expensive.
为了得到这个结论,他们查阅了多种能源的平均电费(LCOE),可再生能源的价格下降地最快。有趣的是,早期预测始终没有看到这一情况的发生。分析师认为可再生能源的价格会持续高昂。

The red line shows the drop in average solar costs. The orange (on a different time scale) shows what the US Energy Information Administration projected costs to be in different years. By 2016, costs had already collapsed to projected levels for 2022, one-fifth of what the estimate for 2016 was. Unusually for any infrastructure project, renewable energy has come in early and well under budget.
红线代表平均太阳能的成本下降。橙色(在不同的时间范围内)代表美国能源信息管理局预计的不同年份成本。到2016年,太阳能的成本已降至2022年的预计水平,是2016年估计数据的五分之一。对任何基础设施项目来说,可再生能源都在早期出现,而且成本远远低于预算。

The Change In Investment Flows
投资流量的变化

In the same time period, we went from 20% of new capacity being renewables to 61%. Honestly, to even come near 2° of warming (which still ruins my island life), we renewable energy needs to be 100% of new capacity, and any fossil fuel development needs to be surrounded with pitchforks.
同一时期,我们将可再生能源的新容量从20%提高到61%。坦白说,要达到接近2°的变暖程度(这仍然会破坏岛屿生活),我们的可再生能源需要达到新容量的100%,任何化石燃料的开发都必须被干草包围。

What this has meant is that renewable power has gone from 5.2% of global power generation to 12.1% by 2017. And rising.
这意味着可再生能源占全球发电量的比例已从5.2%增长到2017年的12.1%,这个占比还在上升。

This isn’t altruistic behavior, it isn’t a sacrifice for our grandchildren’s future as renewable energy is portrayed to be. Green energy is cheap now. Given that the long-term bill for fossil fuels is death, green energy is actually much cheaper.
这不是无私的行为,如可再生能源描述地那样,这也不是为子孙后代的未来做出的牺牲。绿色能源现在很便宜。鉴于长时间使用化石燃料的代价是毁灭,绿色能源确实要便宜地多。

The falling price of solar across various markets
各地市场太阳能价格的下降趋势

The Opportunity For Developing Countries
发展中国家的机会

Climate delayers have said that we need to keep fossil fuels for developing countries, to lift people out of poverty. But this is a lie. We really don’t. While we will need more innovation to replace fossil fuels in flights and cement and steel production, for the majority of uses, it makes sense to switch to renewables now. Especially for developing countries.
气候延迟者表示,我们需要为发展中国家保留化石燃料,以让人们摆脱贫困。但这是借口,实际上我们不需要。尽管我们将需要更多发明来替代飞行、建造和钢铁生产使用到的化石燃料,但对大多用途而言,现在改用可再生能源也是可以的,尤其是对发展中国家来说。

As Hartley says:
正如哈特利所说:

In many developing countries, not everyone has access to electricity, because the infrastructure required to connect them to the system is not available. Renewable technologies can allow countries to skip the need of having extensive power grids, as energy production can be developed closer to centers of demand and, in the case of solar, can even be placed on people’s roofs. (Knowable)
在许多发展中国家,并不是每个人都可以用电,因为缺少可将他们连接到系统的基础设施。可再生能源可使各国无需拥有广泛的电网布局,因为可在需求中心附近生产能源,就太阳能而言,它甚至可以放在人们的屋顶上。(可知)


This is the case where I live, in Sri Lanka. God knows it’s hot enough, and we have solar panels on our house. For an upfront investment of about $10,000, we never have to pay electricity bills again. We — a private house — pump all that energy back onto the grid and get equivalent credits for it.
我住的斯里兰卡就是这种情况。天气够热,并且我们屋顶上有太阳能电板。只要最多大约10,000美元的投资,我们就无需再付电费。我们-一座私人住宅-将所有的能源返还电网并以次换得同等的信用额度。

Rather than building one giant power plant (with all the usual corruption) and then continuing to buy fossil fuels from dodgy countries that are getting into wars and boycotts all the time, we can just use our own sun on our own land. Besides the technical costs, I think this fact is often ignored. Very few countries have fossil fuels, but every country has renewable energy.
与其建造一个大型发电厂(经常发生腐败现象),然后继续从那些一直处于战争和抵制状态的国家购买化石燃料,不如我们在自己的土地上使用太阳能。除了技术成本,这个事实经常被忽略。只有很少的国家有化石燃料,但每个国家都拥有可再生能源。

The Issue Now
现在的问题

The issue now is not cost, which is increasingly cheaper than fossil fuels. Like Scarface, the trouble is what to do with all that energy. What scientists call systems integration. If you’re getting a ton of solar power during the day, what do you do at night? How do you balance it with night time wind, or do you need to adjust demand patterns?
现在的问题不是比化石燃料便宜很多的成本,像Scarface一样,麻烦在于如何处理所有的能量,科学家称它为系统集成。如果白天有大量的太阳能,你晚上怎么办?你如何在白天和夜间平衡风能?或者你需要调整自己的需求?

Hence it’s not just a price thing. There still have to be smart policy prescriptions to make this work, but any of this is better than the systems disintegration that comes with climate change. I live on an island, and if we continue using fossil fuels every beach I know will simply disappear. Most of our coastal cities and homes will be inundated.
因此,这不仅仅是价格的问题。要完成这项工作仍然需要有明智的政策规定,但是,其中的任何一项都比气候变化带来的系统瓦解要好。我住在岛上,如果我们继续使用化石燃料,海滩会消失,大多数的沿海城市和房屋也会被淹没。

You’d think that this apocalypse would be enough to shift but no, people are still like, ‘but can I save $10 now?’ Luckily, yes you can. Green energy is already cheaper than black energy, and it will only get more so as technology improves. Meanwhile ongoing divestments and pressure on the 100 companies and 33 banks that profit from fossil fuels are making them increasingly bad investments.
你可能认为这种代价足够让人发生改变,但不,人们依旧维持原样。“我现在能节省10美元吗?”其实你可以。绿色能源已经比黑色能源便宜,而且随着技术发展,绿色能源会越来越多。同时,持续的撤资以及对100家从化石燃料中获利的公司和33家银行的压力,会让化石燃料成为越来越差的投资对象。
Investment literally means to allocate money for a benefit in the future. The future is renewable energy, and the future is today.
从字面上看,投资意味着将来的利益再分配。未来是可再生能源,而未来就是今天。