The Business Council for Sustainable Energy released its Sustainable Energy in America Factbook for 2015, which was produced by Bloomberg. The factbook shows the advances that clean energy is making in the U.S.—and it’s looking pretty positive for the past few years.
“The U.S. energy transformation that began a decade ago continued in 2014,” said Lisa Jacobson, president of the Business Council for Sustainable Energy. “The Sustainable Energy in America Factbook chronicles this fast-moving transformation, which is creating whole new industries and thousands of new jobs. The Factbook demonstrates that the diverse portfolio of clean energy options can provide affordable and reliable power to homes and businesses throughout the country.” The report also stresses the importance of policy to keep growth in the direction strong.
Among other things the report found that 93 percent of new the electric power capacity built in the U.S. has been either renewable energy like wind and solar or natural gas plants—since 2000. The factbook also found that solar is booming in recent years. For instance, solar builds grew by 50 percent between 2013 and 2014, it stated. “The utility-scale side of the industry brought online projects that have been driven by state renewable energy mandates and by the long-standing federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC),” it stated.
“The factbook rightly points out that the continued growth in residential, commercial and utility-scale solar has helped to diversify our nation’s energy portfolio, improve grid stability, save money and create new jobs across the nation,” said Rhone Resch, CEO, Solar Energy Industries Association.
Moreover the U.S. is starting to make headway on pollution reduction goals. “Over the 2007-14 period, US carbon emissions from the energy sector dropped 9 percent, U.S. natural gas production rose 25 percent, and total U.S. investment in clean energy (renewables and advanced grid, storage, and electrified transport technologies) totaled $386 billion,” according to the third edition of the factbook. The lowered emissions come despite a 1 percent increase in energy consumption last year—which is still down 2.4 percent relative to 2007 levels, showing energy efficiency increases are helping reduce consumption as well.
“The mix of energy consumption is also changing, towards lower-carbon sources: petroleum’s share of total energy has fallen from 39 percent to 36 percent; coal has dropped from 22 percent to 19 percent; natural gas has risen from 23 percent to 28 percent, and renewables (including hydropower) have climbed from 6 percent to 10 percent,” according to the factbook.
Regarding solar energy, the factbook observed that utility-scale solar has seen dramatic growth in the past six years but it anticipated that such projects will start to dry up as California renewable portfolio standard starts to fill up. On the other side of things, the report found that investors are starting to see more opportunities in rooftop PV.Tweet