A widening shale gas revolution is killing the economics of renewable energy, even as falling costs allow wind and solar to overtake fossil fuels in niche areas, say energy executives and analysts.
Solar panel prices are down about 10 percent this year, but chasing a moving target as discovery of cheap shale gas spreads beyond the United States, experts told Reuters energy and climate summit.
Even big renewables investors, such as French energy company Total, see solar as a tiny part of the picture decades out, compared with gas. Total paid $1.4 billion for a majority stake in U.S.-based SunPower Corp.
“You have one energy that represents today more than 20 percent of the energy mix, and solar today is close to zero and will represent maybe 1 or 1.5 percent in 20 years from now,” said Jean-Jacques Mosconi, Total head of strategy.
The trouble is that a new “golden age of gas,” as the International Energy Agency dubbed it, has created massive over-capacity in a key rival fuel for power generation. (Reuters)