The latest data indicates that we made real progress in the development and use of US renewable energy in 2016. Slightly under 17% of the country’s electricity needs were met by renewable sources in the first six months of 2016, increasing from 13.7 percent in all of the previous year.
Breaking News: Solar Employs More Workers than Coal, oil and Natural Gas combined see our article: Solar Energy Industry is Shining Bright
Carbon Emissions Down
The best news is that carbon emissions from power creation are expected to continue to decline hitting levels not seen since 1992. Seeing the promise of clean energy, progressive-thinking governors, state policymakers and power company executives have taken the lead toward cleaner electricity production.
Change in Administrations Not Expected to Derail Progress
Most important is that given the favorable economics of US renewable energy, these strong trends are not indicated to change, even with a change in administrations.
Some basic US Renewable Energy updates:
- More than 21 gigawatts of solar and wind power are expected to come on-line in 2016, fully 68% of the total of new US energy capacity.
- Some of the oldest and least efficient power plants in the US were closing in 2016 transferring that energy demand to newer low-carbon alternatives.
- Solar installation, since 2014 has created more jobs than oil and gas extraction and pipeline construction combined, adding up to more than 400,000 renewable energy jobs. A fact that even Donald Trump will find hard to ignore in his push for new job creation.
No matter who occupies the White House
“Coal is not coming back” said Nick Adams, the CEO of American Electric Power. “We’re moving to a cleaner-energy economy and we’re still getting pressure from investors to reduce carbon emissions. I don’t see that changing.”
“There are serious global concerns about climate emissions. We have to recognize that’s a political reality and work within that framework” said Richard Reavey, Vice President of Cloud Peak Energy.
“Markets are driving a lot of the behavior” Tom Williams, spokesman for Duke Energy says “We’ll continue to move toward a lower carbon energy mix.”
To read more of this article visit the Energy Exchange at EDF, the Environmental Defense Fund.