Editor’s note: A new study from Bloomberg New Energy Finance and the Business Council for Sustainable Energy showed that energy efficiency is on the rise and that renewable generation set new records in 2015. The two organizations recently released the fourth annual Sustainable Energy in America Factbook. The press release is below.
American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) CEO, Tom Kiernan, also released this statement related to the promising clean-energy findings: “Wind power is two-thirds cheaper than it was six years ago and, after installing eight gigawatts of clean wind energy last year, we’re going to keep this American success story going. Now that there’s long-term policy certainty in place, and with states and utilities increasingly looking to lock in low-cost wind energy to reach their Clean Power Plan carbon reductions, now is a great time to invest in American wind power.”
He added, “Wind energy is well on its way to reliably supplying 20% of the country’s electricity by 2030.”
New energy technologies in the U.S. made further critical advances and locked in long-term gains in 2015, according to a new study from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) and the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE). Among other achievements, energy efficiency continued to rise, renewable power generation set new records, and natural gas consumption and production surged as CO2 emissions fell to levels not seen since the 1990s, while power prices remained flat.
These and other trends are chronicled in BNEF and BCSE’s fourth annual Sustainable Energy in America Factbook, a 150-slide almanac of key facts and figures on the evolution of the U.S. energy sector. The Factbook includes an analysis of the year in energy and demonstrates that energy efficiency, natural gas, and renewable energy combined to contribute to a dramatic shift in generation and consumption of energy in the U.S. over the past year.
As the BNEF team declares in the Factbook’s Executive Summary: “The already rapid decarbonization of the U.S. power sector accelerated with record numbers of coal plant closures and solar photovoltaic system commissionings, while natural gas production and consumption hit an all-time high. Concurrently, the U.S. continued to enjoy greater benefits from energy efficiency efforts as economic growth outpaced the growth in electricity consumption.”
According to Lisa Jacobson, President of the Business Council for Sustainable Energy: “2015 clearly marked a turning point for American energy. As we consider the post-Paris world, we should acknowledge that we’ve entered a new era here in the United States. We now have both the tools and the capacity to achieve carbon reductions and cost savings along with economic growth.” She added, “Now our job is to continue to build on the progress we’ve made.”
The 2016 edition of the Factbook outlines key metrics in the combined contributions of energy efficiency, natural gas, and renewables in 2015:
- Investment in energy efficiency continues to pay dividends for the US economy. American energy productivity increased by 13% from 2007 to 2015.
- Last year was a record year for natural gas production, consumption, flows to power generation, and volumes into storage – demonstrating a robust and flexible system that is serving more customers than ever.
- Renewable energy is a prominent part (20%) of the U.S. 2015 power fleet, with 222 GW of installed capacity across the country, a 57% increase over 2008 levels, resulting in a diverse electricity portfolio that is reliable and reduces emissions and costs.
“Last year was certainly one for the history books: U.S. power sector CO2 emissions fell to their lowest annual level since the mid-1990s. And the net impact on consumers is negligible to positive as prices for electricity and fuel remained low by historic standards and customer choices expanded,” explained Colleen Regan, Senior Analyst at BNEF. “Perhaps most importantly, many of the key changes seen in 2015 are likely permanent shifts, rather than temporary adjustments due to one-time events.”
The 2016 edition of the Factbook is now in a PowerPoint format intended to serve as a reference guide for sustainable energy statistics, information and analysis year-round.
It can be downloaded from the BCSE website: http://www.bcse.org/sustainableenergyfactbook.html.
Read the full release here.
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