ACP: Renewable Energy Development Must Speed up to Attain Web Zero Grid by 2035

Heather Zichal

The American Clean Power Association’s (ACP) newest Clean Power Annual Market Report 2021 reveals that wind, utility solar and battery storage power capability within the U.S. topped 200 GW after 28.5 GW of unpolluted energy initiatives got here on-line in 2021. Regardless of this milestone, installations have been flat when in comparison with 2020 ranges because of a number of coverage headwinds going through the wind and solar sectors. ACP discovered that sustaining final 12 months’s challenge quantity would offer solely 35% of what’s wanted to achieve a net-zero grid by 2035. 

 “Despite recent growth trends, unrelenting challenges from the pandemic and global supply chain issues slowed clean power growth. Roughly 10 GW of clean power capacity originally expected online in 2021 were delayed because of various policy headwinds,” observes Heather Zichal, ACP’s CEO. “Looking to 2022 and beyond, the uncertainty of tax credits for renewable energy projects, the availability of solar panels, supply chain issues and inflation are all expected to have a concerning impact on our ability to deliver growth. Further, continued and arguably heightened uncertainty brought about by challenges to existing trade precedent like this year’s Department of Commerce inquiry into solar module tariffs are already taking a toll as we see projects canceled and delayed.”

Clean power dominated new power capability additions in 2021. A complete of 594 initiatives got here on-line, representing 81% of all new power capability installations. And extra is on the way in which, as long as constraints will be eased. At the top of the 12 months, there have been 303 initiatives below development and 390 in superior improvement. Clean power applied sciences now ship 13% of the nation’s electrical energy – the equal of powering over 56 million houses. 

However, the nation confronted a downward development in transmission infrastructure, with solely 386 miles of transmission strains being in-built 2021. Transmission is crucial to sustaining a dependable electrical energy grid and to integrating renewable energy sources extra effectively. Recent transmission additions are merely not satisfactory to allow the clear energy transition, as clear energy initiatives proceed to scale up. Transmission initiatives in improvement may ship an extra 5,000 miles of strains by 2025. 

Last 12 months was the second largest 12 months for wind installations after 2020 with 13,400 MW put in, bringing the whole U.S. wind working capability to 135,843 MW. Despite this, land-based wind capability installations have been down because of greater than 5 GW of initiatives being delayed for quite a lot of causes together with provide chain challenges, transportation and logistics constraints, inflation inflicting larger commodity costs, and interconnection delays. Overall, wind remained the most important renewable power supply on the grid with utility operations in 41 states and Puerto Rico.  

The U.S. utility solar sector put in a document 12,433 MW of capability in 2021, bringing complete cumulative working capability to 60,733 MW. Solar capability installations grew by 20% year-over-year, though over 6 GW of initiatives have been delayed in 2021. Delays have been because of provide chain constraints and commerce limitations. Solar imports into the U.S. fell 18% because of regulatory limitations that are anticipated to hinder future trade progress. 

The battery storage market noticed its largest 12 months on document with builders bringing 2.7 GW on-line in 2021, the primary 12 months of multi-GW battery storage capability installations within the U.S. Overall there are actually 4.7 GW of battery storage on-line. 

More than 415,000 Americans make up the wind, solar and energy storage workforce throughout all 50 states. The solar sector makes up the most important share of unpolluted power employment with greater than 231,000 estimated majority-time staff. The wind sector employed about 116,800 staff, whereas the rising battery storage market employed roughly 66,700 staff.  

The report finds the 594 clear power initiatives introduced on-line in 2021 characterize roughly $40.6 billion {dollars} in funding. Since 2000, complete challenge funding within the clear energy sector is an estimated $392 billion throughout the U.S.  

Clean energy additionally offered practically $2.5 billion funding into native communities; final 12 months alone, the clear power trade paid an estimated $1.2 billion in state and native taxes and practically $1.3 billion in lease funds to landowners throughout the nation.  

The report additionally reveals solar and wind prices have fallen 71% and 47% respectively within the final 10 years. Based on evaluation within the report, wind and solar supply the bottom price of any technology sort in most elements of the nation.

There are 35 states with at the very least 1 GW of working wind, utility solar or battery storage capability.  Texas leads all states with 45,301 MW of cumulative clear power capability put in, adopted by California (23,434 MW), Iowa (12,341 MW), Oklahoma (11,050 MW) and Kansas (8,275 MW).

Texas added the most clear power capability final 12 months with 7,690 MW, adopted by California (2,852 MW), Oklahoma (1,408 MW), Florida (1,382 MW) and New Mexico (1,374 MW).

In 2021, Texas led all states in land-based wind capability additions with 3,343 MW and utility scale solar capability additions with 3,768 MW. California led in battery storage additions, with 1,371 MW.   

When it involves electrical energy technology, Texas led all states by producing over 116 million MWh of renewable electrical energy in 2021. However, in relation to the share of complete electrical energy generated in a state, Iowa led with 55.8% of electrical energy generated from clear power in 2021. Other high states for clear power technology share embrace South Dakota (52.3%), Kansas (45.3%), Oklahoma (41.6%) and New Mexico (36%).  

Business demand for clear power set a document as company consumers introduced a document 13.6 GW of recent clear power contracts in 2021. Corporate consumers are enjoying an more and more essential function in serving to to scale up clear energy applied sciences by buying document quantities of unpolluted power – 2021 was the primary 12 months during which non-utility consumers accounted for greater than half of introduced clear power buy agreements. 

Amazon (2,580 MW) and Meta (1,907 MW) lead power buy agreements introduced in 2021, adopted by TotalEnergies (1,000 MW) because the third largest purchaser of unpolluted power offtake agreements. In complete, 128 entities introduced PPAs in 2021. 

NextEra Energy is the most important proprietor of working clear power, accounting for 14% of complete capability. Berkshire Hathaway Energy is available in second with over 13,400 MW on-line, about 7% of complete capability, and Avangrid is available in third with 7,796 MW on-line. 

Berkshire Hathaway Energy and Xcel Energy maintained their high rankings as primary and quantity two high consumers of unpolluted power. Berkshire Hathaway Energy delivers over 14.4 GW of unpolluted power to its clients throughout the West and Midwest areas of the nation. Xcel Energy has practically 11.8 GW of working clear power out there for its clients. Southern California Edison rounds out the highest three with practically 10.1 GW of working clear power purchases. 

The offshore wind market took a number of vital steps ahead in 2021 with the primary commercial-scale offshore wind challenge, the Vineyard Wind (806 MW) challenge, starting onshore development in November. South Fork Wind (132 MW) additionally obtained a document of determination in November, permitting development to maneuver ahead earlier this 12 months. The trade set a document for offshore wind procurement as states and utilities introduced 8.4 GW of offshore wind procurement in 2021.  

There are 18 initiatives in improvement which have secured offtake, totaling practically 17.5 GW. In complete, there are at the moment 26 lively leases on the East Coast, stretching from Massachusetts to North Carolina in varied phases of improvement. 

Wind and solar initiatives present vital environmental advantages and long-term well being advantages. Wind and solar capability on-line by means of 2021 can keep away from an estimated 86 million vehicles’ price of carbon emissions, or 398 million metric tons of carbon dioxide annually. The carbon emissions financial savings can forestall over $20 billion in climate-related damages annually. The roughly 38 GW of wind and solar power capability below development on the finish of 2021 can cut back CO2 emissions by an extra 70 million metric tons as soon as operational. That would carry complete emissions reductions from U.S. wind and solar energy to round 470 million metric tons per 12 months, whereas complete U.S. nation emissions totaled 5,222 million metric tons in 2020. For comparability, energy consumption within the U.S. produced roughly 4.5 billion metric tons of CO2 emissions in 2020.

Read the total report right here.

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