Alternative energy still can’t compete with fossil fuels on price. But the margins are narrowing, particularly since oil and gas prices have been rising. The math looks even more favorable if you consider the environmental cost of fossil fuels — which most purely economic calculations don’t.
Alternative energy still faces obstacles to mainstream success. Many projects need government or utility subsidies and incentives to be viable. Generating costs have risen recently for some types of renewable resources, pushed by higher materials prices, labor costs and demand. Supply chains are prone to hiccups, and wind and solar-energy resources need backup sources of power to compensate on windless or cloudy days.