Energy Market Intelligence

Gabrielle Ritzer

Gabrielle Ritzer

Recent Posts

The Rise of Battery Energy Storage

With the growth of renewables, the need for energy storage is increasing greatly. Battery storage systems are emerging as one of the key solutions to effectively integrate high shares of solar and wind renewables in power systems globally. Battery storage, or battery energy storage systems (BESS), are devices that enable energy from renewables to be stored and then released when customers need power. This battery storage technology plays a key role in ensuring that homes and businesses can be powered by green energy even when the sun is down, or the wind is not blowing for example.

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Community Solar: The Demand for Clean Energy

The demand for renewable energy continues to be on the rise as more people are becoming aware of the energy industry's environmental implications. With this increase in demand, the need for expanding clean energy infrastructure is necessary to meet the renewable energy goals. In the last decade, solar has experienced an average annual growth rate of 42%. According to a report released by Solar Energy Industries Association and Wood Mackenzie, solar installations grew 43% year over year, reaching a record 19.2 gigawatts of new capacity.  Overall, 2020 U.S. solar consumption increased 22% from 2019. With the shift towards renewables, there are now more than 100 gigawatts (GW) of solar capacity installed nationwide, enough to power 18.6 million homes. According to the IEA, most of the solar energy in the U.S. was consumed at a residential level and over 2.8 million U.S. households have already gone solar.

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The Future of Energy Storage

Energy storage plays an essential role in the transition towards a carbon-neutral economy. Energy storage supports balancing power grids and saving surplus energy. It improves energy efficiency by integrating more renewable energy sources into electricity systems. Expansion and innovations in storage will also help enhance US energy security and produce a well-functioning internal market with lower prices for consumers. Although energy storage is not new, the demand for it has increased significantly as environmental impacts in this sector have become more apparent.

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renewableenergy

The Growing Use of Renewable Energy in the US

According to the EPA, burning fossil fuels for electricity production makes up about a quarter of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Approximately, 62% of our electricity comes from burning fossil fuels, producing large quantities of carbon dioxide, resulting in heat being trapped in our atmosphere. Renewable energy sources are the best alternative to reducing the negative externalities associated with deriving most of our electric power from non-renewable sources.

The demand for renewables has increased in the past year despite the pandemic. Renewables were the only energy source for which demand increased in 2020 reaching its highest levels to date. Wind energy has become the single most-consumed source of renewable energy on an annual basis accounting for roughly 26% of U.S. renewable energy consumption in 2020. Last year U.S. wind energy consumption grew 14% from 2019. The electricity generated by wind-powered turbines was nearly entirely consumed in the electric power sector, contributing to almost half the renewable energy used in the electric power sector at 43%. Hydropower was also almost entirely consumed by the power electric grid. On the other hand, solar energy accounted for about 11% of U.S. renewable energy consumption in 2020. Most of the solar energy was consumed at a residential and commercial level. Overall, 2020 U.S. solar consumption increased 22% from 2019. According to a report released by Solar Energy Industries Association and Wood Mackenzie, solar installations grew 43% year over year, reaching a record 19.2 gigawatts of new capacity.

Looking more closely at wind energy in the United States, according to the IEA, onshore additions are expected to decline this year due to many projects eligible for full tax credits that were commissioned in 2020, reducing the project outlook for 2021 and 2022. Approval of the new proposal for a longer-term tax credit extension would most likely boost growth beyond 2023. Thus, long-term expansion of wind power and infrastructure is expected.

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