Clean energy is becoming less exotic and more practical than ever before thanks to the efforts of a few key countries. Collectively, they're greasing the wheels for a worldwide revolution. The Breakthrough in Renewable Energy, a new documentary produced by the acclaimed VPRO Backlight series, takes us inside the corporate offices and production lines where this groundbreaking work is being done, and examines what it could mean for the future of energy consumption on Earth.
What main factor will ultimately determine the widespread acceptance and use of solar and wind energy? In a word: cost. Once upon a time, investments in these alternative energy sources were considered an extremely risky proposition. After all, the cost to the consumers was many times that of energy powered by natural gas and other traditional fossil fuels. However, as argued by the film's impressive panel of expert industrialists and other energy entrepreneurs, new and untested technologies are always priced high on the outset. Once the research, innovation and production of these technologies begin to progress and mature, the costs go down. This is where the industry stands today.
The filmmakers travel the globe to discover where these seismic advancements are taking place. In China, where air pollution has reached catastrophic levels, the government has made unprecedented investments in the development of solar and wind powered technologies. Their efforts are beginning to pay off in a big way, and reverberate throughout the rest of the world. Thanks to increased production savvy and volume, the cost of solar energy has now dipped by more than 80%, and wind energy has decreased by 50%. As the cost of these resources begin to fall well below that of natural gas, how long will it take for other regions of the world to opt in?
The industry's fight to acquire the hearts and minds of consumers can only be won through simple economics; consumers will begin to embrace green technologies when the dollars make sense. With great insight and access, The Breakthrough in Renewable Energy shows us how this battle is being waged and won everywhere from Abu Dhabi to the Netherlands to California.