Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov

There is no alternative to alternative power

The Arab Spring and the controversy about the Iranian nuclear program have led to the increase in the oil prices. Few people paid attention to one little detail that can eventually end the era of the traditional energy industry in the foreseeable future. In Germany, a kilowatt-hour of the electricity received from alternatives sources of power became cheaper than that obtained from traditional sources.

Solar batteries have been getting cheaper and cheaper on the world market recently. The prices on solar batteries have decreased twice during the recent four years. This has triggered the development of photovoltaics (PV) in the world. According to the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA), there were 27.7 giga-watts of new solar-powered stations put in operation last year. This marked an increase of 60 percent in comparison with the year before that, when the world potential of solar energy received the extra capacity of 16.6 giga-watts. The total capacity of all solar stations in the world reached 67.4 giga-watts. As a result, PV took the third place among the renewable sources of power after hydro and wind power.

More than a third of the world solar power is produced in Germany. The fortified development of photo-electric systems reduced the cost of one solar kilowatt-hour to 24 eurocents. The cost of traditional electricity makes up 25 cents, Deutsche Welle said.

The Germans intend to invest $1.84 trillion in the field of renewable power sources before 2030. It is not ruled out that Germany will be able to conduct the energy revolution already during the upcoming several years. As a result, renewable power sources may become the basis of the nation's energy system.

Russia's Gazprom is nervous. The monopoly still cherishes the plans to use its hydrocarbons to replace the nuclear power, from which Germany intends to refuse completely by 2022.

Germany can do it indeed. The "road map" for the development of renewable power sources by 2010 appeared in the EU for the first time in 1997. The forecast coincided with real results, except for the field of the solar energy. The development of the latter exceeded the forecast seven times. It was Germany that was standing behind the impressive breakthrough.

More than 300,000 new jobs appeared in Germany owing to the development of alternative energy industry. By 2030, the industry may give 2.6-3.5 million jobs in the world a year, specialists say.

The suppliers of traditional sources of power may face hard times in Europe against such a technological background. There is no such prospect for Gazprom in Russia. The industry of renewable sources of power in Russia develops very slowly, if it develops at all. Nowadays, Russia produces only 0.83 percent of electricity from alternative power sources.

"One should not be using only gas and traditional fuel nowadays. The world actively develops ecologically pure and renewable sources of power, as well as energy-saving technologies. However, we in Russia still believe that since we are rich with natural resources, then we can live on that further on. If we do not use alternative sources of power, then we will be losing marketability in the world," Valentina Matvienko, a speaker of the Federation Council said last week.

Sergei Podosenov.