The cost of creating power may prove to be a major turning point in history from dirty and expensive coal to cost efficient renewable and cleaner energies.
Efficiency is the heart and strength of the renewable energy industry. Since the beginning, this core idea of a cleaner, greener, and more effective power production on a scale for the masses was only a matter of time. In recent years, the advancements in technology and dramatic drop in cost to install, maintain, and effectively run renewable energy systems has proven to be an obvious choice. This lower cost and long term efficiency has become a rather appealing decision for investors, home owners, and to anyone looking to save money on their power usage while adapting to a more eco friendly solution.
As of 2018, 74% of coal production in the United States is now more expensive to operate than the overall cost of producing and installing solar and wind powered solutions. This recent study from non partisan firm "Energy Innovation" also shows that by the year 2025, local wind and solar farms could produce the same electricity as nearly all coal production in the country, but at a cheaper cost.
Since 2008, renewable energy electricity generation such as wind and solar have nearly doubled. As of 2018, the usage of renewable energy in the united states accounted for 17.6% of total electricity generation in the country.
Local economies could however experience some downfalls. Several coal plants closed down in 2018 and at least 20 more are expected to discontinue operations throughout this year alone. Although this is a major win for the planet and sustainability overall, the coal industry employs approximatley 50,000 people as of 2016 who will be out of work. Localities are being encouraged to plan for this "Coal Crossover" by creating new jobs and sustaining local economies as the switch to renewable energy takes place.
The massive growth of the renewable energy industry mainly involving wind and solar, is due to state and federal policies, as well as declining cost. State level policies like renewable portfolio standards require that a specific amount of electricity should come from renewable sources. These policies have increasing goals as time goes on. As more wind and solar companies join the industry, competition has led to more efficient project development which has had a direct impact on the price of renewable energy continuing to drop.
A truly clear choice, renewable energy is here to stay. As the coal industry subsides, renewable sources will continue to create more efficient solutions to a vast array of technological, economic, and environmental concerns.