In the Press / 02.17.2017
A day after the Economist‘s inaugural Impact Investing conference, Caprock managing director, Matthew Weatherley-White, stopped by the Yahoo offices to discuss non-carbon energy resiliency and financial acumen. “Alternatives to carbon energy are becoming cost-effective on their own, without government aid,” writes Yahoo’s Rick Newman in a post-op of the interview.
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Renewable energy still represents only about 9.7% of US energy consumption, up from 6.2% in 2000. What’s changing, however, is the business case for wind, solar and other renewables. “Five years ago, subsidies drove the adoption of alternative energy,” says Weatherley-White. But with falling costs and better technology, he says, “the transition to a renewable and alternative energy complex is irreversible.”
It will be slow, too. The US economy is obviously heavily dependent on oil and other fossil fuels, especially transportation. Climate change is prompting some nations—most notably, Germany—to kick the carbon habit. But Trump is skeptical of climate science, despite mountains of evidence of a warming planet, and he seems unlikely to favor subsidies for renewables the way Obama did.
For consumers, the economics of converting to solar power are continually improving. Weatherley-White says he’d get a 6% return on the cost of installing solar panels on his home in Idaho, which is one of the least cost-effective states for solar. The return is higher in Sun Belt states such as Nevada and southern California. The math ought to improve as panels get cheaper and the technology continues to improve—without any need to worry about what Trump might do.