The good news just keeps coming in for renewable energy! With the U.S. making stronger efforts to reduce pollution and implement new forms of alternative energy, there has been a steady power shift in relation to energy usage. This past April was a milestone for renewable energy, and the total generating capacity of renewable energy amounted to 21.56%, while coal’s capacity dropped from 23.04% to 21.55%. This shows that a significant change is on the horizon as renewable energy is becoming more popular than coal. Natural gas, as well as renewable energy, are taking more and more market share at the expense of coal. Let’s take a deeper look at this development.
Coal is Cooling Down
With data released by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the trend becomes crystal clear. Coal is on the way out, while renewable energy and natural gas are on the way in. Additional statistics presented by FERC suggest that additional units for coal added were only two units, while solar, wind and natural gas combined amounted to over 3,000 unit additions.
Regarding retirements of units, coal unit retirements amounted to 50 units while solar, wind, and water combined only amounted to 21 units retired. Finally, the high probability of units to be added for coal amounted to 2 units while solar, wind, and natural gas amounted to over 55,000 units. This certainly backs up the notion that coal is on the way out and renewable energy is taking over slowly but surely.
Renewable Energy is Taking Over
While capacity does not translate in actual generation of energy, the trend shows that over time, renewable energy will overtake coal in both capacity and energy generation. Currently, coal contributes to 21.55% of total generating capacity, while wind, solar and water combined contribute to roughly 19% of total generating capacity. But with the predicted data from FERC, it can be inferred that renewable energies will overtake coal sooner than later. Natural gas is the number one contributor to total generating capacity with 44.44%. Natural gas will hold the number one spot for quite some time.
At Intersect Energy, we provide our clients with the highest quality service to help them lower their business’s impact on the environment while increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of their respective businesses. We offer a wide variety of renewable energy installations/services such as wind and solar. As renewable energy continues to increase in popularity, we are here to help our customers transition to renewable and sustainable energy sources. Contact us today if you have any questions or inquiries regarding renewable energies. We look forward to hearing from you!
Renewable energy sources such as hydroelectric power, wind power, and concentrated solar panel energy are continuing to decrease in price. The good news was contained in the newest Renewable Power Generation Costs report released by the Abu Dhabi-based International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). IRENA also predicted in their report that renewable energy sources will be cheaper than fossil fuels by the year 2020, which is fantastic news for not only the renewable energy industry, but the world in general!
Hydroelectric power is the cheapest source of renewable energy at an average cost of $0.05 per kilowatt hour (kWh). Not far behind are solar and geothermal energy, which cost an average of $.10/kWh. Finally, wind power is the most expensive of renewable energy sources, which costs an average of $0.13/kWh. It is important to understand that these statistics are based on global information and individual projects pertaining to renewable energy can range from $0.05/kWh to $0.25/kWh. This is still great news as to compare these prices with that of fossil fuels, which range from $0.05/kWh to $0.15/kWh, the price difference is minuscule.
What Cause the Price Reductions?
The cost reductions in renewable energy have come about because the price to build and run new renewable energy plants has decreased. The global weighted-average cost for renewable energies are as follows: bioenergy electricity fell by 14%, solar PV and wind fell by 13%, hydropower fell by 11%, and most significantly, concentrated solar panels (CSP) fell by 26%. As the total cost to operate the plants continues to decrease, incremental but noticeable decreases in per kilowatt hour prices for renewable energies will continue to decrease as well.
Benefit to Society
Up until this point, the main topic of this article has been focused on the numbers and how renewable energies are now able to compete with fossil fuel prices. But, there is a greater benefit to mention. With diminishing usage of fossil fuels and increased usage of renewable energy, our environment will benefit and pollution will begin to slow down. Renewable energy will never run out, while fossil fuels have a limited supply. The sustainability of renewable energy creates optimism that the climate objectives in the Paris Agreement can be met–now it’s just a matter of making sure we can accelerate the growth of renewables.
If you are interested in joining the movement towards renewable energy, contact the team at Intersect Energy today! We provide analysis, financing, and structuring of alternative energy solutions for your site with a goal of reducing the site’s environmental impact while maximizing savings for you as the site owner. Contact us today to get started on your next renewable energy project. Make sure you keep up with the latest news in the world of renewable energy by following us on LinkedIn!