Can The U.S. Become 50 Percent Renewable By 2030?

| July 10, 2019

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This April, in what was potentially a turning point in the trajectory for the United States’ energy industry, renewable resources surpassed coal in the country’s energy mix for the first time ever. According to a report released by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) says that “renewable sources provided 23 percent of total electricity generation to coal’s 20 percent,” crediting “both seasonal factors as well as long-term increases in renewable generation and decreases in coal generation,” prompting Forbes to report that “the excess of renewables over coal nationally in April is a remarkable testament to the pace of renewables penetration .” While this certainly is cause for celebration for climate change advocates, environmentalists, and other proponents of clean energy, it does not necessarily mean that coal is on its way out for good in the United States. As Forbes points out in its article “Renewables Beat Out Coal In April, But For How Long?”, coal nearly always hits its lowest annual mark in April, “when temperatures are more moderate and demand for heating and air conditioning is lower,” to the extent that “many natural gas, coal, and nuclear generators schedule routine maintenance for the spring and fall, and many coal plants spent part of April offline for planned, temporary outages.”

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Outdated perceptions: how energy attitudes are damaging customer wallets

Article | March 22, 2021

Despite rising energy costs and dwindling customer ratings of the ‘Big Six’, over 37% of Brits still believe they are getting a good deal when it comes to gas and electricity. Here, Keith Bastian, CEO of rising independent Outfox the Market, challenges those age-old perceptions that are damaging consumer bank balances… I have never quite understood the notion of pay more for the same service. Except that last part, is really where the difference lies. As I have made my way through the energy market, it seems clear to me that we are facing a common notion. Age-old dinosaurs, that have relied on name status and brand power to retain customer loyalty, despite not providing anything different or any value-added service, give the impression that customers are somehow safer with them. That is the biggest misconception. We at Outfox the Market would like to challenge that. Of course, when I speak in such a way, I am referring to the ‘Big Six’, those long-established brands whose share in the energy market whilst substantial, is increasingly coming at the cost to its customers. For example, in the latest independent customer rankings from Which, it was determined that the traditional big energy companies had some of the lowest scores for customer service and value for money, yet some customers still feel secure with them. On the contrary, rising independents, such as ourselves, were scoring highly in these areas and this is where I feel the difference lies. Regardless of your opinion on fossil fuels and/or renewables, it is more the value of looking after your customers, understanding their concerns and dealing with them efficiently that has become somewhat lost for the ‘Big Six’. It is true that they have a larger proportion of customers to serve with a larger workforce, but that should not be to the detriment to the service they provide. What were are seeing now, as evidenced by the recent Ofgem price hikes, is the ‘Big Six’ once again failing consumers in these areas, with most of the top names putting costs up by £96 a year on average as of April. I am not one to not acknowledge that energy firms are tongue-tied in some respects in passing regulated costs on; there are times when we must. However, customers could also benefit from a little research. Even with growing numbers of consumers switching, nearly 60% of all households in the UK are still on standard variable rate tariffs, those that are subject to the incoming Ofgem hikes. So, the real question is why aren’t more customers switching? Heritage, loyalty and brand association. These facets really should not come at cost of paying more for energy. I really believe it is down to time-sensitivity and a misunderstanding around the barriers to switching, with cost somewhere in the middle. According to MoneySuperMarket, 75% of us would switch if we could save £149.99. A hefty figure, but why not the £96 highlighted earlier? That is still pretty good, and something that would add up nicely over the years. I understand we are time-poor as a nation, it’s well publicised, but we’re all well averse in switching phone contracts and insurance deals, so why not where our energy comes from? Truth be told, I believe it’s an age-old notion that energy is ‘just something that comes with the house, not worth the hours or hassle to change.’ But in all honesty, it takes a matter of seconds to switch. Firms such as ourselves offer this and more via a quick and easy quote online. Best of all, many energy providers will help manage the switching process for you, contacting your current provider and notifying them of your intentions. I would also like to challenge this notion that once an energy firm ‘gets you’, you are ‘locked in’ for years upon end in ever rising contract costs. If you are on a standard variable tariff, you can switch to a new provider at any time. What’s more, even if you are in a fixed term energy deal, which can be subject to exit fees, sometimes the cost involved outweighs the savings you can make with your new provider. Customers must do their best to ask more of energy firms, check the service they are being given and hold it up against national bill averages. Compare what your neighbours, friends and family are paying under similar living circumstances, and weigh up if you are being given a fair deal. Living costs and regulated price hikes are always going to be an ever present worry, so I call on both customers and energy firms to do their due diligence in these respects. Age-old energy firms relying on their reputation must take a serious inward look at their lessening market share to understand why they are failing customers. It’s time to make a change now, both from business attitude and a consumer standpoint; switching is quick, easy and a vital notion to bear in mind, as both retaining custom and saving money becomes an ever-growing sticking point in the energy market.

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Is solar or wind a better way to power your home?

Article | February 25, 2020

A growing number of homeowners in the United States are turning to renewable energy sources to provide power for their homes. Solar power systems only need sunlight to power your home and vehicle, recharge large battery systems, and still allow you to sell extra energy to your utility company. Wind power can perform the same functions by producing energy from wind-powered turbines. Both depend on often volatile forces of nature, but overall, solar panels provide more consistent energy. Solar panels don't include moving components, as wind production units do. These and other differences play important roles in deciding which renewable energy option is best for you.

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Electric vehicles could turn solar households into autonomous energy units

Article | February 17, 2020

Many discussions abound on how Australia can reach renewable energy targets of 50 per cent and much more. Many experts believe achieving this goal will depend on the availability of a low cost, bulk energy storage infrastructure. Pumped hydro has received much attention in this regard. While technically feasible, bulk storage still requires transmission and distribution infrastructure that is not only costly but will take considerable time to implement. A far simpler and cost effective route is the bottom-up approach of turning each house into an autonomous energy unit. The use of solar panels in homes and small industry has proven to be remarkably successful.

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What is community solar and is it better than installing solar panels on your home?

Article | February 24, 2020

The U.S. reached a monumental 2 million solar installations in 2019. As more people look to save money through solar energy, many different options for doing so are becoming available. The U.S. Department of Energy defines community solar as “a solar-electric system that… provides power and/or financial benefit to… multiple community members.” These voluntary programs allow community residents to enjoy the perks of solar power without the large initial investment. The solar panels and related equipment are set up in a central location, so residents don’t need to buy and install equipment on their personal properties. The power produced by these projects is then shared by a community, and the hardware is either owned by the community itself or by a third party (i.e. Jaton’s community solar projects in California).

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Nexus Energy Solutions Ltd

Nexus Energy Solutions help commercial & domestic properties reduce carbon emissions, with an all inclusive service that project manages the complex requirements in turning a building from low energy efficiency to high. Our services also include all types of professional energy surveys and certificates plus Green Deal advice.

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