It was only 6 months ago that Goldman Sachs predicted $200 oil before the end of the year. Today, most analysts predict the price of oil will fall under $50 a barrel before the end of the year...
What will this mean for the future of renewable energy?
In the short term, it seems the answer is, unfortunately, a real slow down.
The combination of easing energy costs and a global credit crunch (making financing of new projects close to impossible) will slow down the progress of most companies in the space (Wind has been taking the majority of the hit over the last week, but this is true for solar, geothermal, and the others). A good article on this in the WSJ here
But in the long term, this may well be just be a small hiccup in the drive to eliminate energy dependence on oil.
Last night the show 60 Minutes had a profile with T Boone Pickens, who is trying to drive a shift into renewable energy with the "Pickens Plan" (this is a man that made his fortunes in the oil industry). He's already taken a big hit from the falling markets, and looks to be in for a rough time with his huge bet on the wind sector. But in the long term I believe he'll come out a huge winner.