There is a hopeful report out this week that the cost of solar energy has dropped so dramatically that it is not cheaper than wind power in emerging markets like China and India. Indeed, Popular Mechanics is now calling solar energy the “cheapest energy” option. In Chile, electricity is being produced by solar power for $29.10 per megawatt hour–half the price of power produced by coal. These countries are seeing the benefits in the investment into alternative energy sources in both cost and the environment. The pledge of the Trump Administration to expand drilling and “clean coal” use runs against the trend in other countries.
Even if the Trump Administration is resisting climate change research, it can at least recognize the benefits of new technology in combatting pollution and reducing costs. There are jobs to be secured in this green industry and we are not serving our country well by resisting the technological and political movement toward solar and wind power. As the grandson of a coal miner, I am more concerned with getting jobs to West Virginia and Ohio and other states — not propping up industries that are declining. I am still hopeful that the business orientation of the new Administration will see the logic in not allowing these other nations to dominate this emerging market for green technology and alternative energy sources.