I couldn’t make this year’s Renewable Energy Finance Forum – Wall Street, though I did peruse the notes that my colleague Tom Konrad of AltEnergyStocks forwarded to me. Among the many details, I noticed this rather broad statement: “Historically, we have under-predicted.” He went on to explain: “NREL’s 1998 prediction of the penetration of renewables for 2020 was only 30% of the 2013 number.” In other words, we’re headed to beat the expectation for 2020 by an enormous margin.
Obviously, this is good news for the renewable energy industry – and for you and me and all the other people out there with lungs, who are the beneficiaries of all this clean energy. But it’s also a reminder of how little we know of the future that lies before us. I’m reminded of the article by author Rebecca Solnit that I cited in my post Hope, Activism and Climate Change, in which I close:
The most striking aspect of Solnit’s work of art here is a kind of intellectual humility that defines good thinking today. Our position needs to be: we really don’t know how all this is going to turn out. Optimists think everything will be fine; pessimists don’t see a way out. Solnit concludes: “Will we get (there)? I don’t know. Neither do you.”