DOE: The Falling Prices And Climbing Deployment Of Clean Technologies

Posted by Betsy Lillian on September 28, 2016 No Comments

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has released a new report that highlights the accelerated deployment of five clean energy technologies: wind turbines, solar technology for both utility-scale and distributed PV, electric vehicles (EVs), and light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

For wind power specifically, according to the annually updated report, dubbed “Revolution…Now,” land-based wind in the U.S. accounted for 41% of all new capacity brought online in 2015. In addition, wind generated enough electricity to power more than 17 million households, the report says.

“Revolution…Now” describes the decreasing cost and increasing deployment of clean energy technologies in the U.S. As the world continues to move toward a low-carbon economy, says the DOE, the 2016 update released today builds upon last year’s edition and details the economic and environmental benefits the nation is already starting to realize – thanks to the increased deployment of clean energy.

“This report is further proof that our commitment to clean energy and American innovation can lead to steep cost reductions and sharp increases in the deployment of advanced technologies,” said Ernest Moniz, secretary of energy.

“We need to continue pushing the innovation agenda that leads to these kinds of dramatic cost reductions for all low-carbon technologies and increases America’s competitiveness and independence in the global clean energy economy,” he added.

The DOE says its continued investments in the research and advancement of the five clean energy technologies highlighted in the report have contributed to price reductions from 40% to as high as 94% since 2008.

Other highlights from the report detail the dramatic increases in the U.S.’ clean energy deployment:

  • Utility-scale solar PV represented 15% of all newly installed electricity generation capacity in 2015. In addition, overall utility-scale PV generated enough electricity to power over 2 million homes.
  • Distributed solar PV has reached 1 million rooftop installations on homes and businesses after experiencing a 54% reduction in overall costs since 2008.
  • In total, wind and solar account for two-thirds of all new, U.S. installed electricity capacity.
  • Installation of LED A-type bulbs exceeded 200 million through 2015 – growing 160% over 2014.
  • Total sales of EVs have soared closer to the half million mark, with 490,000 EVs on the road (as of August of this year).

Moreover, the report says, the increased deployment of clean energy technologies is already revealing real-time benefits: Solar power saved 17 million metric tons of CO2 in 2014 – leading to reduced water consumption and decreased air pollution that equate to nearly $700 million in environmental savings. LEDs use 85% less energy than incandescent bulbs, and projections show that increased installations could allow for up to $630 billion in savings for Americans between now and 2035, according to the DOE.

In addition to these five rapidly growing technologies, the report also discusses four emerging technologies: fuel cells, grid-connected batteries, energy management systems and big area additive manufacturing (commonly known as 3D printing).

As these technologies – which are on the cusp of wider deployment in the coming years – become even more cost-effective and widely available, the economic and environmental benefits will grow, the DOE says.

The agency says it will continue its research and development for these core and emerging technologies as it works to further reduce market barriers and continue innovation in order to strengthen the clean energy revolution and transform the way in which the U.S. produces and uses energy.

The full copy of the “Revolution…Now” report can be found here.

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