I’ll be the first to admit that cheap natural gas prices are one of the biggest short-term threats to deployment of renewable energy in the U.S. today. With a glut of gas dropping prices to historic lows, the competitiveness of technologies like wind, solar PV, and solar hot water are facing significant challenges.
But here’s the important thing to remember: The industry is being challenged, not beaten. Amidst all the hand wringing over what cheap natural gas will do to investment in renewables, we often lose sight of the fact that the cost and price of renewable energy technologies are still chasing the record price drops in natural gas. When the price of natural gas starts to climb back up (according to many estimates, it will fairly soon), renewables will be more competitive than ever.
Over the next couple of years, I believe that the age-old idiom will again be proven true: “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”