Last week the Department of Energy (DOE) introduced the latest installment of its annual Revolution…Now report, which shows how clean energy technologies, like wind, solar, electric vehicles and more are proliferating the US. For instance, the report shows that wind and utility-scale solar power together made up 56 percent of all new electric generation capacity brought in 2015.
“We are experiencing a clean energy revolution in the United States, and this report confirms it,” DOE Secretary Ernest Moniz said. “Today, clean energy technologies are providing real-world solutions—not only to reduce carbon dioxide emissions that cause global warming, but they also drive a domestic, low-carbon economy with technologies that are increasingly cost-competitive with conventional technologies. We have the tools for a cleaner and more secure energy future.”
The report shows the steep price declines that technologies have experienced over the eight years, including the cost reductions in LEDS, the costs of which have fallen a stunning 94 percent since 2008. Likewise, utility-scale solar power has experienced a 64 percent price drop since 2008 from $5.70 per watt in 2008 to $2.08 per Watt in 2015 (Indeed a recent National Renewable Energy Laboratory study shows even further price drops for solar power, to $1.42 per watt in the first quarter of 2016).
The report stated that wind, utility-scale and distributed photovoltaics, in fact, accounted for over 66 percent of all new energy installation in the US in 2015. Wind accounted for most, 41 percent of the new generation capacity while utility-scale solar made up 15 percent of the new capacity. It also highlights the fact that the US now has more than 1 million solar rooftops, which was achieved in 2016.
In the report, DOE touted the benefits these achievements are already helping the country realize. “Solar power saved 17 million metric tons of CO2 in 2014 – leading to reduced water consumption and decreased air pollution that equate to nearly $700 million in environmental savings,” DOE said. “LEDs use 85 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs and projections show that increased installation could allow for up to $630 billion in energy saving for American’s between now and 2035,” it added.
“This report is further proof that our commitment to clean energy and American innovation can lead to steep cost reductions and sharp increases in the deployment of advanced technologies,” Moniz said. “We need to continue pushing the innovation agenda that leads to these kinds of dramatic cost reductions for all low-carbon technologies and increases America’s competitiveness and independence in the global clean energy economy.”
The report also looks at emerging technologies that will likely see growth and deployment in the coming years. Chief among them are energy storage systems, including fuel cells and grid-connected batteries, and the energy management systems that will help manage the electric grid of the future. The DOE also is looking into 3D printing as a major disruptor in the energy sector.Tweet