Executive Briefings

Coal-fired Plants to Continue to Decline as Natural Gas, Renewables Surge, Report Says

Natural gas and renewable power plants will account for almost all the new capacity to be installed in the United States for the "foreseeable future" while the number of coal-fired power plants will continue to decrease, according to a report by PEW Charitable Trusts.

Released Oct. 27 as part of the organization's clean energy initiative, the report, "Distributed Generation: Cleaner, Cheaper, Stronger - Industrial Efficiency in the Changing Utility Landscape," also anticipated that independent generators and rooftop solar installations will produce more electricity in the future, contributing to an evolving electric grid.

The report scrutinized the history of the changing grid and looked at how industrial energy efficiency technologies and distributed generation have contributed to grid security, resiliency and cleaner power. It also identified federal programs and policies to increase the deployment of energy-efficient technologies.

One of the causes of changes to the electric grid, according to the report, is the expansion of cost-effective, clean and efficient power generation options. The report said over the past 10 years "major progress" has been made to increase cost-competitive power supply options, including the rise of wind and solar energy generation, due to state and federal policies.

Most states now have renewable portfolio standards and over two thirds have targets for deploying renewable energy into the electric mix, researchers said. It added that targeted tax incentives, including federal production and investment tax credits, have helped the private sector increase production of clean energy technologies by cutting costs. The price of wind power has declined by more than 50 percent since the production tax credit took effect and the cost of solar power has tumbled by 75 percent since 2008, according to the report.

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Released Oct. 27 as part of the organization's clean energy initiative, the report, "Distributed Generation: Cleaner, Cheaper, Stronger - Industrial Efficiency in the Changing Utility Landscape," also anticipated that independent generators and rooftop solar installations will produce more electricity in the future, contributing to an evolving electric grid.

The report scrutinized the history of the changing grid and looked at how industrial energy efficiency technologies and distributed generation have contributed to grid security, resiliency and cleaner power. It also identified federal programs and policies to increase the deployment of energy-efficient technologies.

One of the causes of changes to the electric grid, according to the report, is the expansion of cost-effective, clean and efficient power generation options. The report said over the past 10 years "major progress" has been made to increase cost-competitive power supply options, including the rise of wind and solar energy generation, due to state and federal policies.

Most states now have renewable portfolio standards and over two thirds have targets for deploying renewable energy into the electric mix, researchers said. It added that targeted tax incentives, including federal production and investment tax credits, have helped the private sector increase production of clean energy technologies by cutting costs. The price of wind power has declined by more than 50 percent since the production tax credit took effect and the cost of solar power has tumbled by 75 percent since 2008, according to the report.

Read Full Article