“Wind is the largest single source of zero-carbon power-generating capacity in the U.S.” This fact and more were revealed yesterday by the Business Council for Sustainable Energy in its 2019 edition of the Sustainable Energy in America Factbook. AWEA is a proud sponsor of the report and I’m excited to share a few more of the findings with you.
Growing fast, remaining affordable
Wind and solar capacity have more than quadrupled since 2009 (from 36.2 GW to 164.6 GW in 2018). That’s remarkable progress to make in a decade.
Even with record amounts of renewables on the grid, most Americans aren’t paying more for it. Consumers dedicated a record low share of their household spending to electricity (1.3 percent), according to the new report. The report also found that the U.S. has the second lowest industrial electricity prices out of the G7 nations. That gives American businesses an important competitive advantage in the global marketplace.
Corporations are taking note of these low prices and are commissioning wind projects left and right. Facebook, Google and Walmart have worked together with utilities in New Mexico, Georgia and Tennessee (among others) to build new wind and solar projects. And let’s not forget how Budweiser put wind power right at the center of their Super Bowl 2019 strategy with a commercial titled “Wind Never Felt Better,” featuring Clydesdales and a dalmatian alongside wind turbines – set to the soundtrack of Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind.”
New aggregation models are also allowing smaller energy buyers like Etsy and Adobe to combine their demand to sign onto an individual project. This means small and large companies alike can use wind to meet their sustainability goals and save money.
Riding on the renewable energy highway
The Factbook shows that we are well on our way to a sustainable energy future. But our journey is far from over. To keep moving on an upward trajectory, we’ll need to bring markets and the power grid into the 21st Century. Transmission infrastructure will be essential.
Much like America’s highways, transmission lines move a valuable product—low-cost electricity—from where it’s produced to where it’s needed on the grid. If we have road blocks and lane closures, there’s no way we can make the system reliable or efficient. That’s why we need electric transmission upgrades and investments.
Transmission helps connect and scale up new energy technologies that benefit consumers, including renewable energy, distributed generation, energy storage and demand response, while remaining essential for traditional power sources. We can make the grid cleaner, more reliable, and lower cost with faster, smarter permitting and planning for transmission lines.
Access the Factbook
You can download the full report on the Business Council for Sustainable Energy website.