Wind and solar power are on the rise in the US just as oil is in decline, in an encouraging turnaround for renewable energy in a country that has traditionally been a staunch defender of oil and often outspokenly climate-change-sceptic.

Renewable energy is forecast to account for 20% of America’s electricity for the first time ever in 2020, up from 18% last year and just 10% in 2010.  Partly due to the coronavirus outbreak, this rise is expected to continue in the coming years, with oil, gas and coal companies set for hard times ahead as they struggle to recover from a sharp drop in demand.

The mixed fortunes of the renewable and fossil fuel industries is not just down to coronavirus, as evidenced by the above-noted increase in favour of green electricity long before governments issued lockdown instructions to tackle the disease.  In states including Texas – the home of US oil – and California, it is simply cheaper now to generate electricity from wind turbines and solar panels than it is to use coal or gas.  And this price saving means the former will also be more attractive to utility companies as usage declines due to businesses closing during lockdown.

A big help has been the fall in the cost of solar panels, prompting solar capacity in the US to increase by 23% in 2019.  Also of benefit is governments’ growing investment in climate-friendly infrastructure and projects globally, making the renewables industry more able to cope with economic downturns.  Solar and wind farms are also quicker to build than fossil fuel plants.  All of which adds up to a bright outlook for renewables in the US – and hopefully elsewhere too.

further reading…

Wind and solar power are on the rise in the US just as oil is in decline, in an encouraging turnaround for renewable energy in a country that has traditionally been a staunch defender of oil and often outspokenly climate-change-sceptic.

Renewable energy is forecast to account for 20% of America’s electricity for the first time ever in 2020, up from 18% last year and just 10% in 2010.  Partly due to the coronavirus outbreak, this rise is expected to continue in the coming years, with oil, gas and coal companies set for hard times ahead as they struggle to recover from a sharp drop in demand.

The mixed fortunes of the renewable and fossil fuel industries is not just down to coronavirus, as evidenced by the above-noted increase in favour of green electricity long before governments issued lockdown instructions to tackle the disease.  In states including Texas – the home of US oil – and California, it is simply cheaper now to generate electricity from wind turbines and solar panels than it is to use coal or gas.  And this price saving means the former will also be more attractive to utility companies as usage declines due to businesses closing during lockdown.

A big help has been the fall in the cost of solar panels, prompting solar capacity in the US to increase by 23% in 2019.  Also of benefit is governments’ growing investment in climate-friendly infrastructure and projects globally, making the renewables industry more able to cope with economic downturns.  Solar and wind farms are also quicker to build than fossil fuel plants.  All of which adds up to a bright outlook for renewables in the US – and hopefully elsewhere too.

further reading…