Renewable energy has a bright future around the world. However, in America, it might be the brightest. According to the EIA, the United States expects that 70% of new energy will come from solar and wind.
In other words, another 27.6 GW of energy will come from renewable energy this year. Solar energy is, once again, on track to shatter its previous record by adding another 15.4 GW of energy capacity.
Wind, on the other hand, is expected to decrease compared to last year in regards to new energy generation. In 2021, it is expected that 12.2 GW of new wind energy will come into existence.
For reference, only 6.6 GW of new energy will come from natural gas.
Battery Storage Technology Are Quadrupling
Potentially even bigger news than the solar and wind figures is the deployment of battery storage technology. The EIA expects the capacity of battery storage technology to quadruple in 2021.
And that’s because two-thirds of new solar projects are built alongside battery storage.
It’s no secret that renewable energy sources like solar and wind are not as reliable as traditional fossil fuels. In fact, it’s their biggest criticism. However, battery storage technology can resolve this shortcoming.
These batteries can store the surplus energy that solar panels wind turbines, generate on good days. This energy can then be used when the demand is higher or the devices are not generating enough.
By the end of this year, another 4.3 GW of battery storage will be available. And for reference, the battery storage doubled in 2020 and was on track to triple if not for COVID-related delays.
Fossil Fuels Will Still Generate The Most Energy in 2021
Even though renewable energy sources are growing rapidly, they will not be overtaking fossil fuels any time soon in terms of actual generation.
According to 2019 data, fossil fuels generated 62.6% of electricity in the US, while renewables only contributed 17.6%. Renewables include wind, hydropower, solar, biomass, and geothermal sources.
It will take a very long time for that gap to be close, even with the crazy growth rate of renewables.
Renewable Energy Is Not Slowing Down
One thing is perfectly clear; renewable energy will account for the vast majority of new energy generation going forward in America. And to many people’s surprise, this has nothing to do with legislation or policies.
It’s part of why companies like Xcel Energy are moving forward with being more eco-friendly in the coming years.
Renewable energy is cheaper, less volatile (investors love it), and companies are trying to go green.
At its current rate, renewable energy is likely to continue this growth rate for the next decade until it overtakes fossil fuel. However, this is if things remain as they are from a legislative perspective.
With a new administration in the White House, it is very likely that new legislation and regulations may further accelerate the transition to renewable sources like solar and wind. This is especially true if companies have to pay a carbon tax.
After all, there are no emissions from the direct use of renewables.
These types of policies will greatly accelerate the transition to renewable sources. And it’s not just in the United States, as the rest of the world is experiencing a similar growth.
Renewables are here to stay.
Robert has been following and writing about environmental stories for years at GreenGeeks. He believes that highlighting environmentally friendly practices can help promote change in every household.