Last week the Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its latest forecast for new electric generation in the US coming online in 2019—two thirds will be wind and solar. It’s no surprise as renewable energy promises savings and states want clean energy. But not all may be benefitting even with rooftop solar at solar at record low costs.
A new study showed that despite all the increases in renewable energy across the country and the solar energy on people’s rooftops, some are not benefiting from it. Tufts University and the University of California, Berkeley found that neighborhoods that are primarily black or Hispanic are less likely to have solar rooftops—that’s when household income and the rate of home ownership within the neighborhoods are comparative to those in mixed neighborhoods.
Black-majority neighborhoods were 69 percent less likely to have solar rooftops and Hispanic neighborhoods 30 percent were less likely to have solar rooftops. The study also found that neighborhoods that are primarily Caucasian are 21 percent more likely to have rooftop solar.
Despite the ongoing government shutdown, the EIA introduced its latest estimates for how much new electric generation would come online in 2019. It anticipated that 23.7 gigawatts (GWs) of new electric generation would come online in 2019 and fully 66 percent of all new utility-scale electric generation would come from wind, solar and other renewable energy sources.
The EIA report found that wind will make up the lion’s share at 10.9 GWs or 46 percent of all new generation. Solar power be another 18 percent or 4.3 GWs of new electric generation. Rooftop solar power, which isn’t accounted for in the utility-scale segment, will account for another 3.9 gigawatts of installations.
There’s a reason renewable energy is making up such a large portion of the new energy coming online—it’s cheaper. Replacing Colorado’s coal plants with wind and solar power could save Coloradans $2.5 billion in energy costs by 2040. That includes retiring some coal-fired plants early and paying to close them early, according to a new study commissioned by Community Energy and conducted by Vibrant Clean Energy.
A growing number of states are also taking actions to add more renewable energy. Last week Pennsylvania’s Governor, Tom Wolf (D), signed an executive order that will see the state move to 40 percent renewable energy while it cuts emissions 80 percent. The order also established the GreenGov Council to make sure the state achieves the goals.Tweet