By Michael Mariotte

This trend is clear: Solar and wind are already cheaper than coal and will become more so; and will beat out natural gas as well. Nuclear is so expensive it’s off the chart. Chart from Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Every day I take an hour or two to scan dozens of articles from across the globe on nuclear power and clean energy issues; I select a handful of the best to post on NIRS’ Twitter and Facebook feeds as well as the COP 21 organizing page on Facebook, along with some Twitter-enforced pithy commentary.

Today I found myself using the word “trend” twice in a half-dozen post comments. Accurately.

Because the trend away from nuclear power and fossil fuels and toward clean energy is only accelerating, all across the world. Given how low we began, with clean energy even a few years ago providing only a microscopic amount of our electricity supply, rapid and accelerating growth is absolutely necessary. But the pace of the growth still is stunning. The dinosaurs’ day is coming, and the trend shows that it’s coming sooner than expected.

A few examples:

*The upcoming release of the annual and invaluable World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2015 indicates that 45% of the world’s people live in countries that now generate more electricity from non-hydro renewables than from their nuclear power. These include four of the world’s five largest economies: China, India, Japan and Germany, along with Brazil, Mexico, Spain and the Netherlands.

When hydro is included, the United Kingdom can be added to the list. The outlier on the list is obvious: the U.S. Although at least the U.S. is growing too, from 8.5 percent renewable (including hydro) in 2007 to 13 percent in 2014. All of that growth comes from non-hydro renewables.

Note that these statistics are not based on capacity (all of these nations have far more nameplate capacity of renewables than nuclear) but on actual generation, where until recently nuclear has been the leader.

*In a story titled The Latest Sign that Coal is Getting Killed, Bloomberg reported Monday that coal companies are finding it increasingly difficult to find needed financing from Wall Street; investors believe–with good reason–that coal is on the way out and they don’t want to risk their good money on it. That they are backing off financing for coal-related projects will only hasten the industry’s demise.

Bloomberg’s clients aren’t motivated by the environment, they’re motivated by profit. And they see solar and wind power–as the chart at the top of the page indicates–as already being more cost-effective than coal and becoming only more so. Nuclear, which is even more expensive than coal, doesn’t even enter the equation.

*As for the future, while Tesla may want to become the world’s largest electric car company someday (which in their view of the future means the world’s largest car company period), it may also become one of the world’s largest energy companies. Tesla CEO Elon Musk is usually the one who grabs the headlines, but this …read more

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