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Solar Field just off I-95 in Florence, South Carolina Photo: Monica Medina
By Alexandra Patel and Monica Medina
This week as you sit in the sun somewhere (we hope), consider that solar power is surging in the U.S. A recent report from Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables and the Solar Energy Industries Association announced that the first quarter of 2019 was the strongest in the U.S. solar industry’s history with 2.7 gigawatts of solar capacity added to the grid.
Large scale utility solar projects, such those taking place in Florida and the Carolinas, accounted for 61 percent of this expansion and are expected to increase by another 46 percent.
Why This Matters: The international consensus among scientists is that to mitigate the worst effects of climate change, temperature increases must not exceed 2 degrees Celsius. To achieve this goal, transitioning to clean energy, specifically that of solar energy, is crucial to sustaining the U.S. economy while simultaneously curtailing the negative impacts of energy generation on the environment. New York is already taking the first step towards a net zero economy through large investments in solar energy and is predicted to reach its goals by 2050 should it stay on track. And now Los Angeles has struck a revolutionary deal that leaves fossil fuels and nuclear power in the dust. The prospects for a clean energy future in the U.S. are getting brighter.
Solar Power Booming in the South
National Public Radio reported last week about how the decreasing cost of solar technology, available land and lots of sunshine are driving demand for massive, utility-scale solar projects across the American Southeast.
Where the US Stands Now: The is a strong bounce back from last year during which solar installations dropped by 2 percent. Solar energy doesn’t even makeup 2 percent of the U.S. energy generation. Falling costs, however, according to the Energy Information Administration, are setting up the industry to be the “fastest growing source of U.S. electricity generation for at least the next two years.” Coal generation in comparison continues to fall and accounts for only 28 percent of U.S. energy generation. Forbes quoted Mark Z. Jacobson, the Stanford professor who developed roadmaps for transitioning 139 countries to 100 percent renewables, hailed the LA solar/battery deal on Twitter Friday, saying, “Goodnight #naturalgas, goodnight #coal, goodnight #nuclear.”
By Amy Lupica, ODP Daily Editor A new report has found that since the 2015 signing of the Paris agreement, more than 75% of the world’s planned coal plant projects have been scrapped, and 44 countries have no future coal plans whatsoever. The report’s authors hope this trend will continue as the COP26 conference in […]
By Amy Lupica, ODP Daily Editor The House Ways and Means Committee has released their portion of the reconciliation for the Democrats’ $3.5 trillion spending package. The plan follows through on many promises made by the Biden administration, including clean energy tax credits and credits for electric vehicle owners. The plan, announced on the heels […]
By Amy Lupica, ODP Daily Editor On Tuesday, the Biden administration announced that it would “revise” regulations regarding renewable energy on public lands, a move that may ease the development of solar and wind projects. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) said that it would be seeking input for a new proposal, which it plans to issue early next year. […]
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