"Renewables are getting cheaper, and fossil fuels are getting more expensive," hearkens New York Times bestselling author and progressive radio talk show host Thom Hartman.
According to a new study by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, in carbon tax-friendly Australia wind energy costs AU$80/MWh, roughly half the price of coal and 3/4 the price of natural gas production. Even without the carbon tax surcharge, wind energy remains 15-20 percent cheaper.
While natural gas is cheapest in the United States, the tide may be turning.
"According to the Energy Information Administration, looking ahead to 2016, natural gas is the cheapest energy in the United States at roughly $66/MWh. Coal comes in second at $94/MWh. But right behind coal is renewable wind at $97/MWh, which in large part accounts for why U.S. wind energy production has tripled since 2000," writes Hartman.
Hartman believes that if the United States altered its laws to shift the burden of paying for the collateral costs of burning fossil fuels to energy companies, the policy would effect a tipping point toward renewable energy production.
Collateral costs that affect the U.S. consumer include pollution and climate change, impact on health and healthcare costs, the military cost of protecting oil producing allies abroad and decreasing property values from power plant construction.