The grid will require a substantial transformation as more renewable sources come online. Some critics argue technological, financial, and institutional barriers will prevent significant decarbonization of the power sector, but four common clean energy myths are easily debunked by facts and real-world experiences showing the feasibility of a low-carbon energy future.
Clean Energy: Market Trends
Advanced Energy Economy’s new encyclopedia of advanced energy technologies surveys more than 50 advanced energy technologies that work to make the grid more reliable, cheap, and clean. This includes “technologies for electricity generation, electricity delivery and management, building efficiency, water efficiency, transportation, and fuel production and delivery.”
This data analysis finds that over America’s clean energy sector now employs more than 2.5 million people. The majority of these jobs come from energy efficiency (1.9 million), and a significant portion come from solar (300,000) and wind (77,000). The solar industry in particular has experienced a 20 percent job growth rate for three years in a row, and is estimated to add 220,000 new jobs in coming years due to the Investment Tax Credit’s extension alone.
This factbook provides data-driven insight into a variety of industries that are contributing to the United States’ transition to a low-carbon economy. It provides a ‘birds-eye view’ of the entire U.S. energy sector, then breaks out subsequent chapters to cover energy-related topics in specific economic sectors. It concludes with cross-sectoral themes recent events and conditions in the U.S. and globally.
Getting to 100: A Status Report on Rising Commitments Among Corporations and Governments to Reach 100% Renewables
This report provides an update on the companies and governments that have committed to renewable electricity targets, and what is driving their decision to make these ambitious commitments. It assesses and analyzes a suite of policy and technology options to expand corporate and government use of renewable energy.
Lazard’s Levelized Cost of Energy Analysis – Version 9.0
This analysis compares the levelized cost of energy, as well as a handful of other cost metrics, for various energy technologies. It finds that the cost of solar and wind have continued to drop in price, making them cost-competitive with conventional generation technologies in some circumstances.
It pays to adopt smart energy policy sooner rather than later. If policymakers wait just four years (until 2020) to take action and want to achieve the same emissions reductions by 2030, they risk nearly $400 billion in additional costs. Policy implementation should start early to take advantage of natural capital stock turnover and the increased productivity of an efficient system.
Renewables are projected to be the largest single source of electricity growth over the next five years, according to this report from the International Energy Agency (IEA). Falling costs and rapid adoption in Asia and other emerging economies are driving the trend, but the IEA calls for governments to reduce policy uncertainties that could slow further deployment of renewables.
This report shows an increasingly competitive utility-scale PV sector, with installed prices having declined significantly since 2007-2009, relatively modest O&M costs, solid performance with improving capacity factors, and record-low levelized PPA prices of under $50/MWh on average, making solar cheaper than existing generation in some regions.
Tracking the Sun: An Historical Summary of the Installed Price of Photovoltaics in the United States
These annual reports describes historical trends of the installed price of grid-connected PV systems in the United States for residential, commercial, and utility-scale PV systems. These trends demonstrate price fluctuations based on type, regional location, and scale of the PV system installation. The reports conclude with a discussion of government implications and actions to continue driving down PV installed prices.