All in all, it was a good week for renewable energy. Already 35 percent of the world’s existing coal-fired power plants could be replaced with renewable energy for less money, according to one new report. Almost echoing the report’s sentiment Xcel Energy announced that it is the first major, multi-state utility committing to carbon free energy in the US. Another study found that installing solar on all new US homes could triple the amount of solar installed in the country.
Over a third of the world’s coal-fired power plants could already be replaced by cheaper renewable energy, according to the Carbon Tracker, which conducted a two-year study of power plants. Moreover the study found that 42 of coal plants are operating at a loss and that by 2030 fully 96 percent of coal plants won’t turn a profit for investors.
At least one publicly traded utility appears to have come to the same conclusion. Xcel Energy, which operates in multiple states, including Colorado and Minnesota, announced that it will increase wind and solar power in its energy producing producing portfolio significantly as it reduces its emissions by 80 percent in the next decade and reaches 100 percent carbon-free electricity production by 2050. While wind and solar will make up a significant portion of its energy generation, the utility may also use some carbon storage technologies.
As California’s building commission gave final approval to new energy efficiency measures that will require solar power to be installed on new homes starting in 2020, a new study from Environment America showed that if such a requirement were enacted across the entire country, it would add 203 gigawatts of rooftop solar by 2045. That would triple the amount of solar power installed across the country.
Technology companies are also helping to lead the way as the world adopts cleaner energy. Last week Facebook announced that its Newton Data Center in Georgia will be 100 percent powered by renewable energy provided by 200 megawatts of solar farms provided through the Walton Electric Membership Corporation (EMC). EMC will get the power from three solar farms being built by Silicon Ranch and Strata Solar.Tweet