Energy Companies in Phoenix
According to the report, natural gas prices also fell during that period, but by a smaller percentage (32%), due to the current boom in fracking rather than a longer-term trend such as renewables. The cost of developing coal plants has remained relatively constant over the past decade.
Cheap prices are not accidental
The paper explains that solar energy companies in pheonix are possible due to processes called learning curves or virtuous cycles. Once, the cost of harnessing sunlight's electricity was so high that satellites were not able to afford it.
Current energy mix
Low prices for renewable energy have impacted the world's energy mix. In 2019, renewable energy was responsible for 72 percent of new energy capacity. The world's renewable power capacity has tripled over the past 20 years.
The United States has seen an increase in renewable energy. In 2007, the wind was less than 1%, and solar was even lower. Coal accounted for half of the total energy capacity. Although 2020 estimates are still in flux, it is likely that total output from renewables, including solar and wind as well as other sources like hydropower and biomass, will surpass that of coal which accounts for about a fifth.
A Union of Concerned Scientists energy expert stated that 2020 will be the best year for new US wind installations and the best ever for solar installations.
A chart showing the changing energy mix in the United States from 2001 to 2019 was created.
Even with price cuts, renewable energy still makes up a small percentage of total energy consumption. These modifications, however, are not sufficient to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to the extent necessary to mitigate the worst impacts of climate change.
The fracking boom is replacing coal plants across the country with cheaper fossil fuels. This abundant and cheap fuel can produce up to 60% less carbon dioxide than coal when it is burned, but it still contributes to climate change through methane emissions from its facilities. Due to its use in trucks and automobiles, oil still contributes to a large portion of harmful emissions. Transport emits more carbon dioxide in the United States than in any other sector.
Recurrent delays in transitioning to a green economy
Despite huge cost savings, renewables have not replaced fossil fuels at the pace you would expect. This is because of the heavily biased investments, policies, and infrastructure in the energy sector that favor fossil fuels.
This is particularly true for state-regulated monopolies, which supply power in approximately half of the US's states. Investor-owned utilities receive a guaranteed rate of return on power plant investments. This ensures that they continue to make money from operating the plants. These monopolies ensure that even though the market prices of their energy sources may make it prohibitively expensive to operate, this is not a concern.
There are fossil plants in existence that we have already developed. In most cases, it is cheaper to produce one unit more power using existing infrastructure than it is to build new infrastructure. We have already paid for the fossil fuel infrastructure upfront, so the economics aren't quite right yet to allow us to quickly phase out fossil fuel plants before their useful life ends.
The system has been dominated by fossil fuels, despite the fact that long-term contracts have been made between utilities, energy producers, and mining companies. Because the country's energy consumption is not increasing, there is not much incentive to invest in more renewables.
Other than market forces and monopolies there are very few obstacles to the widespread adoption of renewable energies.
Sun and wind don't always work the same way every day. People live less in the windiest areas of the country than those living in cities along the coast. These are often in the interior regions, such as the Great Plains. Water and batteries can store energy and better transmission networks are possible. This makes it possible to overcome the problems of geography and intermittency. Build and maintaining the infrastructure, however, will require significant investment.
Switching to renewable energy
The era of low-interest rates and high unemployment could be the last time renewables and their affordable pricing will have their moment. The federal government in the United States has a significant role in these initiatives. It can borrow at low-interest rates and then use this advantage to support state and local energy transition programs.