When renewable energy met sustainable growth
Regulation, cost reduction, and the rise of renewable energy in the United States.
Historically and famously fossil-fuel dependent, the U.S. energy and electricity mixes are evolving quickly as costs fall for renewables, regulations mandate their implementation, and fiscal policy incentivizes their installation.
The investment and production tax credits (ITC and PTC) as well as power purchase agreements (PPAs) are well-known for their contributions to the development of solar and wind capacity, and the recent extensions of these credits has led to a positive outlook for continued growth in installations and generation. In addition, the green power market is experiencing record participation, as tracking the positive environmental externalities of renewable power has become important to meet renewable portfolio standards, which mandate implementation of renewable energy by state.
Cost reduction is further taking place globally due to technological advances and economies of scale, which serves as another key driver for development. Of course, challenges are still present, particularly due to a plentiful and inexpensive domestic fossil fuel supply, uneven application of regulation and incentives state-by-state, and the uncertainty of continued political support. Even so, a progressive lowering of traditional barriers is leading to the potential for widespread deployment of renewables across the American landscape.