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Coronavirus Clears the Skies, but Threatens to Undercut Climate Efforts

Coronavirus Clears the Skies, but Threatens to Undercut Climate Efforts

The near-global halt to travel, tourism and shipping sparked by the worldwide response to the coronavirus have produced a short-term silver lining: cleaner air and clearer waters.

  • marzo 23, 2020
  • min read

Cheddar

Coronavirus Clears the Skies, but Threatens to Undercut Climate Efforts

Industry experts and analysts say, before the spread of COVID-19 and the resulting economic impacts, the fundamentals around clean energy investment were already favoring big increases in investment for solar, wind, and similar priorities.

"Even though this moment will be worse than people thought, even though it'll probably put us into a recession, I don't think this moment in time is going to change the fundamental dynamics in the long term," said Mark Gottfredson, a partner with Bain & Company.

"A utility-scale solar plant can now provide electricity just about as cheaply as natural gas even with natural gas at low prices," Gottfredson continued. "Wind in the right places is economically viable. And battery costs are coming down ⁠—  battery technology has gotten to a point where it is competitive to link it up with solar and with wind and store and smooth-out the flows of electricity … The economics makes sense for us to have a zero-emissions grid, to eventually retire the coal plants and eventually the natural gas plants. It's economics that are driving it, not this moment in time."

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