The use of renewable energy sources in the United States is increasing as the cost of these technologies continues to decline. A new report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) said that the cost of power generation from renewable energy sources is now competing head-to-head with its fossil fuel electricity generation counterparts.
"The competitiveness of renewable power generation technologies has reached historic levels; onshore wind power, solar photovoltaic (PV) and concentrating solar power (CSP) installed costs have continued to fall as their performance has improved, significantly lowering the cost of electricity from these sources," said the report.
The clean energy industry in the United States has experienced a steady rise over the past decade. Citing statistics from the US Energy Information Administration, Wikipedia said that renewable energy in the United States accounted for 12.9 percent of the domestically produced electricity in 2013 and 11.2 percent of total energy generation.
The extension of the The Outlook for Renewable Energy in America, The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) said that renewable power capacity exceeds 190 GW, biofuels are responsible for roughly 10% of our nation’s fuel supply, and renewable thermal energy systems heat and cool a growing number of homes, businesses, public buildings, and other structures throughout the country.
ACORE looked at the various forms of renewable energy and revealed the following information.
Net generation by wind energy at the start of 2014 was up 19% from the year before, bringing American wind power to 4.13% of U.S. electricity generation overall. At the beginning of 2014, there were more U.S. wind power megawatts (MW) under construction than ever before in history.
More than 10,900 MW started construction activity during the fourth quarter, and more than 12,000 MW are currently under construction. When completed, these 90+ projects will generate enough electricity to power an additional 3.5 million households, said the report.
According to the ACORE website, reporting on findings from the American Wind Energy Association, wind power provided 35% of all new U.S. electric capacity over the last four years. In Iowa and South Dakota, two states leading the shift to wind power, wind now generates around 20% of the states’ electricity needs.
Photovoltaic (PV) installations continued to proliferate, increasing 41% over 2012 to reach 4,751 MWdc, and 410 MWac of concentrating solar power (CSP) plants also came online, said the ACORE report. Solar was the second-largest source of new electricity generating capacity in the U.S., exceeded only by natural gas.
The Energy Information Administration said that solar energy will grow faster than any other renewable source, averaging an annual growth rate of 11.7% through 2035.
ACORE indicated the biomass power sector has undergone significant growth in recent years, with the greatest amount of growth appearing in the Southeast including Florida, South Carolina, and Georgia.
Beta Engineering and Renewable Energy
At the end of 2013, Beta Engineering had connected nearly 2800 MW of green energy to the grid. In recent years, the company has completed more than a dozen renewable high voltage projects including wind, solar and biomass across the United States, and additional projects are underway.
Our unique engineering, procurement and construction approach provides a single source of accountability, which means there is no confusion as to price or scope of work.
Contact us to learn more about how Beta Engineering can partner with you on your renewable energy projects.