Green energy is rapidly taking hold
A revolution is transforming how Americans use and think about energy, says Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
It’s an all-American green revolution! And this time, everybody wins.
“Factbook 2013” was commissioned by the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE), a coalition of companies from the natural gas and renewable energy/efficiency industries.
The BCSE might have a somewhat biased perspective on green power, but the 17-page Factbook is filled with . . . well, facts.
Such as . . . (excuse the cherry-picking; the report is too long to reproduce in full):
✓ The price of solar power has dropped in three years from 31 cents per kWh to 15 cents per kWh. (Wind power has only dropped a penny during the same time period, from 9 cents to 8 cents.)
✓ Renewables’ contribution to our energy grid doubled in the between 2009 and 2012, to 85.7 GW (gigowatts), and that figure doesn’t include large hydro projects. (It’s still only about 13% of total U.S. energy production.)
✓ Over the past five years, energy use fell by 6.4% while the economy grew 3%.
✓ U.S. CO2 emissions have dropped back to where they were in 1994.
✓ While the U.S.– with renewables at 57%– is ahead of China in its use of renewable energy and natural gas, it hasn’t caught up with Canada (71%).
✓ Americans spent $4.6 billion on smart meters just last year. Now here are the real heroes of the revolution! You! Homeowners!
Going solar is no longer like burning dollars
Homeowners have embraced solar in a big way now that the price is more affordable. Solar spending for residential applications will quadruple over the next four years, to $5.7 billion, according to Clean Technica.
We’ve been using less energy in our homes for the past 30 years, according to the U.S. Energy Information Agency. Not surprisingly, the lowest per capita use of energy tends to be in big urban areas with apartment buildings, where people take the subway to work. The highest energy consumers live in places where people with big houses congregate in suburbs requiring a long commute.
Washington, California, and Oregon top the list of states with the most power generated from renewable sources (think hydro). However, Texas now boasts the highest amount of electric power produced by wind, geomass and biothermal. One-hundred percent energy from renewable sources could be feasible, and within our lifetimes.
Maybe with all of the despair about climate change and power consumption, there is a light at the end of the tunnel– and it’s powered by solar.