THE LATEST THINKING
The opinions of THE LATEST’s guest contributors are their own.
Despite America's 19th-century posturing, the renewable energy industry is thriving in the 21st-century by delivering cleaner air, more jobs, and renewed economies in the face of policy instablities.
I was greatly relieved to read the WEF discussions around climate change and what other countries are doing to reduce their contributions to the debacle. Here in the U.S., the current administration is actively bucking that trend, with the Executive Branch apparently determined to keep the country mired in the 19th-Century "purge-and-pollute" processes that caused the problem in the first place. Considering how much time and energy the American media puts into reporting what the Feds are doing on so many other salacious and demoralizing fronts, I don't see much news about how the renewable energy industry is responding to the concern. Consequently, I am gratified to read that the sector remains dedicated to rebuilding America's infrastructure using renewable resources and that the current strife caused by D.C. is probably deepening that resolve.
Strong Tailwinds Drive Forward Progress
It turns out that, despite the 2016 election, 2017 was an excellent year for renewables, with sustainable energy companies adding jobs and expanding economic competitiveness. Further, they accomplished these goals without increasing either greenhouse gases or energy consumption levels and in the face of those continuing policy insecurities. The result was an almost record year for renewable energy installations that produce cleaner air while boosting the U.S. economy. The growth builds on ten years of sector innovation, as utility-scale solar electricity generation increased 40-fold and the volume of wind-generated electricity quadrupled since 2008.
Solar and Wind Remain Renewable Frontrunners
And research continues to prove that solar and wind resources, in particular, can definitely expand to power the full demand of the entire United States, refuting the argument of oil and gas advocates that renewables can't match the scope or strength of those traditional fuels. According to the Journal of Energy & Environmental Science, with the inclusion of sufficient battery storage capacities, a combination of solar and wind generated electricity could support 100 percent of the total U.S. power demand:
- The two work in conjunction with each other, with solar generation being highest in the summer, and wind generation peaking in both spring and fall.
- Optimal power generation occurs when there is a mix of the two powering a region, and that mix is designed to maximize the capacities of each within that region.
- In times where active power generation lags for any reason (it's nighttime; there's a heavy cloud cover, or there's no wind), batteries would store sufficient quantities of electricity for regular consumption until renewable sources come back online.
Other forms of renewables, including biofuels, geothermal, and hydro, remain viable as alternatives for and enhancements to the solar-wind power generation ratio.
Perhaps my biggest relief stems from the realization that, despite the lunacy of the current American government and a dearth of information in the mainstream media, companies around the world and inside the U.S. are working to ameliorate the effects of climate change - I just need to know where to find the data.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- For the first time in decades, the United States got more electricity from renewable sources than nuclear...