Author Archives: Ramez Naam

How Steady Can Wind Power Blow?

This is part 2 of a series looking at the economic trends of new energy technologies. Part 1 looked at how cheap solar can get (very cheap indeed).  NREL recently released data showing that next-generation wind turbines could reach an … Continue reading

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How Cheap Can Solar Get? Very Cheap Indeed

What’s the future price of solar? I’ll attempt to make some projections (tentatively) here. tl;dr: If current rates of improvement hold, solar will be incredibly cheap by the time it’s a substantial fraction of the world’s electricity supply. Background: The … Continue reading

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New Solar Capacity Factor in the US is Now ~30%

The capacity factor of new utility scale solar deployed in the US in 2010 was 24%. By 2012 it had risen to roughly 30%. The rising capacity factor of new solar projects is part of why the cost of electricity … Continue reading

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Citizens Led on Gay Marriage and Pot. We Can on Climate Change Too.

A decade ago, it was nearly inconceivable that in 2015, gay marriage would be legal across the US and marijuana fully legal in four states plus the District of Columbia. Yet it happened. It happened because citizens who wanted change … Continue reading

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Solar Cost Less than Half of What EIA Projected

Skeptics of renewables sometimes cite data from EIA (The US Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration) or from the IEA (the OECD’s International Energy Agency). The IEA has a long history of underestimating solar and wind that I think is starting … Continue reading

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Solar: The First 1% Was the Hardest

Solar power now provides roughly 1% of the world’s electricity. It took 40 years to reach that milestone. But, as they say in tech, the first 1% is the hardest. You can see why in this chart below. As solar … Continue reading

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What’s the EROI of Solar?

There’s a graph making rounds lately showing the comparative EROIs of different electricity production methods. (EROI is Energy Return On Investment – how much energy we get back if we spend 1 unit of energy. For solar this means – … Continue reading

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The Ultimate Interface: Your Brain

A shorter version of this article first appeared at TechCrunch. The final frontier of digital technology is integrating into your own brain. DARPA wants to go there. Scientists want to go there. Entrepreneurs want to go there. And increasingly, it looks like … Continue reading

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The Singularity is Further Than it Appears

This is an updated cross-post of a post I originally made at Charlie Stross’s blog. Are we headed for a Singularity? Is AI a Threat? tl;dr: Not anytime soon. Lack of incentives means very little strong AI work is happening. … Continue reading

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Tesla Battery Economics: On the Path to Disruption

Update: The Tesla battery is better than I thought for homes. And at utility scale, it’s deeply disruptive. Elon Musk announced Tesla’s home / business battery today. tl;dr: It’ll get enthusiastic early adopters to buy. The economics are almost there to make it cost … Continue reading

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