Renewables have come leaps and bounds since their infancy in their ability to deliver increasingly affordable, reliable, and clean electricity to utilities and homeowners alike. In fact, the energy consumed in charging the computer to write this blog post was produced exclusively by renewables, as Burlington, VT has become the first city in the country to supply its residents with 100% renewable electricity.
1. The Cost of Renewable Energy, Especially Solar, Has Decreased Significantly
This past summer, the IEA, International Energy Agency, released a statement (published in Bloomberg Business piece, "Fossil Fuels Losing Cost Advantage Over Solar, Wind, IEA Says") stating "The costs of renewable technologies -- in particular solar photovoltaic -- have declined significantly over the past five years," by about 50%, pushing solar's costs and the grid's prices even closer to one another.
The IEA went further, referring to renewable energy technologies as "no longer [being] cost outliers" in the energy mix available on the open market.
In case the significant decline in solar costs over the past five years wasn't enough to turn your head, solar costs are expected to fall another 40% in two years, according to a report released by Clean Technica.
That's the equivalent of a 90% reduction in cost in seven years. Now that's something to be excited about!
As technologies scale, their subsequent prices fall--and that's exactly what we're seeing in the solar industry.
2. Renewable Energy Installations Are Outpacing Fossil Fuel Installations
DeSmogBlog reported on the June, 2015 release of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC) Energy Infrastructure Update in their piece, "The US Installed More Than Twice As Much Solar and Wind As Fossil Fuel Electricity So Far In 2015."
The headline says it all. Solar and wind installations alone accounted for over twice as many fossil fuel-related installations for the first half of 2015.
DeSmog's Mike Gaworecki took note that "coal accounted for a mere 3 MW during that time period [January 2015-June 2015]," which is saying quite a lot, since the U.S. used over 1,500,000 thousand megawatthours of coal-fired power in 2013 alone. As Climate Progress reported, even a West Virginia power company recently admitted that "coal was doomed."
As renewable energy job growth continues to outpace fossil fuels', we can only expect these positive trends in renewable growth to continue.
3. The Public Wants Renewable Energy
From the People's Climate March to President Obama's announcement that the Keystone XL pipeline project will not go through, it's undeniably clear that the U.S. public wants greater access to renewable energy.
In fact, a recent poll released by the Center for American Progress showed that those who were polled overwhelmingly favored increasing renewable development over more coal, oil, gas, and nuclear development, basically the exact opposite of what this current congress' policies have been both advocating and accomplishing.
4. Climate Change Policies Will Require Even More Renewable Deployment
At the current United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, the nations of the world need to come to a binding agreement on limiting carbon emissions enough to stay away from the path of dangerous climate change, limiting global temperature rise to a maximum of 2 degrees centigrade.
To limit global warming, renewable energy will have to be deployed at an even faster rate than it currently is. And with an agreement in Paris, the policies set forth will pave the way for renewable energy growth for decades to come.
5. The Options to Receive Renewable Electricity Keep Getting Easier and Easier
From state and federal tax incentives to purchasing renewable energy credits from your utility to everyone chipping in on a community solar project, the ease and number of ways to receive access to renewable energy technologies are increasing.
Even in the northeast, with its long winters and short summers, from Massachusetts to Maine it's easy to see communities coming together for renewable energy projects of all sizes--on roofs, in fields, on parking garages, you name it.
So what do you think: is renewable energy here to stay?
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