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Is it Time to Diversify?

ID 147850117 © Antonello Marangi |

Teenage eco-activist, Greta Thunberg has made several headlines since arriving stateside in August.   She has toured the country, visited Canada and was invited to South Dakota by fellow teen activist, Tokata Iron Eyes. There she spoke on a panel hosted by the Lakota People’s Law Project at the Pine Ridge Reservation, the site of a seminal 2016 protest over the Dakota Access Pipeline.  Are Thunberg’s global efforts paying off?  Tuesday, Latvian Prime Minister, Krisjanis Karins urged energy companies to heed the teen eco-activist.  Speaking at the international gas market conference Eurogas in Riga, Karins admits gas is not on its way out but he strongly urged business saying, “If I were in gas business, I would look for opportunities to diversify sources, because businesses need to take into consideration the political pressure to cut emissions.” Oil and gas giant, Shell, started diversifying in 2001, when they entered the wind energy business with Shell New Energies US.  Now teamed with EDPR Offshore North America, the companies are working on a joint venture.  The Mayflower Wind project would be an offshore wind farm about 20 miles south of Martha's Vineyard off the coast of Massachusetts.  It is also noteworthy to mention that Duke Energy — the largest utility in the U.S., which resisted renewables for years — announced it would reach an interim target of 50% carbon emission reductions by 2030, 100% by 2050.  Recently, renewable energy has become cheaper to develop and integrate into our pre-existing infrastructure. Lazard’s annual Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) analysis reports solar photovoltaic (PV) and wind costs have dropped an extraordinary 88% and 69% since 2009.  However, the rate of change may still be too little, too late, to meet Thunberg’s persistent demands.  Have activists, protesters and politicians brought on change or is capitalism behind industry reform?  

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