Las Vegas marks a historic energy shift?
Amazing news came out this week – the city of Las Vegas is now powered entirely with renewable energy! Starting from the government building up to the city’s streetlights. The city officials have been working towards this goal for nearly a decade now and with the launch of Boulder Star 1 – a 100-megawatt solar plant, it is finally there. Along the way Las Vegas has further reduced its electricity usage by 30%, with estimated yearly saving of $5 million. It is now also the largest the US to be powered by renewable energy.
This is certainly an exciting development, isn’t it? Especially in the light of the recent election of Donald Trump, who is notoriously known for dismissing the threat of the Global Warming. But that could be counteracted by the economic argument for renewable energy, which the new business-minded president elect cannot so simply ignore. For example, the wind farms can be built for just $22 a megawatt-hour and the solar plants in Nevada costed less than $40 megawatt-hour. In comparison, the figures for natural gas and coal plants average at $52 and $65, respectively. Moreover, as the consumer become more educated and aware of the environmental impacts, there will be increasingly seeking clean and thus cheaper energy providers, which is already happening in Las Vegas.
The availability of new and more affordable technologies and the example of Las Vegas could be marking a beginning a larger historic shift into the ‘green’ direction. Energy providers such as NextEra Energy Inc., Duke Energy Corp. and others have already started investing billions into new power plants to profit from cleaner and more efficient alternatives. Consequently, even Trump recently softened his attitude towards renewable energies stating that “he as an open-mind” about the Paris climate accord, even acknowledging that there might be a correlation between the temperature increase and human conduct.
If the change is indeed to pick pace soon, it offers an exciting, although challenging opportunities for corporates. As the new developments are defying the centuries-old model, they are to change the power balance of current conglomerates who own industry. If they also see it as a potential threat and join the innovation, the speed of the energy shift will only increase. Las Vegas is then not only another contributor to the trend but a strong case study, which demonstrates the economic value of looking into the future. It explicitly offers a purely rational argument, which is much more convincing and is likely to lead a cutting-edge battle for energy industry innovation.But while things ares sill up in the air, 48 US city mayors have signed an open letter to Trump saying that they will continue renewable energy efforts and fight climate change, regardless of the decisions of the federal government:
Each of our cities is committing to ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, set climate action, regularly report on our progress, share lessons and hold each other accountable