Renewable energy to continue to thrive thanks to economic benefitsNovember 29, 2016
The economics of renewable energy may ensure its continued success
Solar and wind energy are facing an uncertain future in the United States, but economics may ensure that these two forms of clean power continue to thrive. There are many challenges facing solar and wind power, but one of the greatest of these challenges has to do with potential changes to federal energy policies. President-elect Donald Trump has decried both solar and wind power in the past. Trump intends to make changes to the country’s energy policies, reducing restrictions on oil companies and putting a great focus on natural gas. Despite these potential changes, however, clean power may continue to thrive throughout the country.
Clean power is becoming much less expensive than conventional energy
Texas is home to the fastest growing wind energy market in the United States. In West Texas, new wind farms can be built for only $22 per megawatt-hour. Solar energy has also become quite inexpensive in states like Arizona and Nevada, where solar projects can be built for less than $40 per megawatt-hour. On average, natural gas plants cost approximately $52 per megawatt-hour and coal costs approximately $65 per megawatt-hour. With clean energy being so inexpensive, solar and wind are likely to continue growing at a very rapid pace in the coming years, regardless of changes to federal energy policies.
Utilities are investing heavily in renewable energy
Economics may ultimately determine how much influence federal lawmakers and Trump have on energy policies. This may be most apparent amongst utilities. NextEra Energy, Duke Energy, and several other organizations have invested billions of dollars in new energy systems that make use of renewable resources. These organizations are not likely to allow their investments and energy plans be sidelined by politicians, some of whom have an admitted lack of knowledge concerning renewable energy.
Paris Accords may aid the future growth of the renewable energy sector
Something that could have a potentially significant impact on the future of renewable energy is the fate of the Paris Accords. The accords saw many countries throughout the world come together and commit to reducing the production of emissions and to embrace renewable energy more aggressively. In the past, Trump had suggested that he would pull the United States out of the accords. Doing so could have a serious economic effect on the renewable energy space. Trump has, however, begun claiming that he has a more open mind concerning the Paris Accords.