Alternative and renewable energies are a technology that attracts considerable attention, not only the United States but also around the world. Fossil fuels and other non-renewable energies have dominated the energy market for much of modern history. However, many people are concerned about the long-term supply of these energy sources as well as other environmental consequences associated with using them. In response, there has been a significant amount of investment into ways to harness alternative energies such as solar, wind, hydro-electric, and geothermal. Despite a focus on these technologies, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) predicted that there would not be a noticeably significant change in energy use until 2035. They have just recently released new statistics, however, which show a much faster rate of adoption than was previously predicted.
The EIA had previously stated back in 2012 that the total increase in green energy used in the U.S. would reach about 15 percent. According to the new statistics, during the first quarter of 2017, total renewable energy output is around 19.35 percent. This may illustrate a growing interest in alternative energy in the U.S. In her article for ARSTechnica, Megan Guess attributed the increase to the massive rise in domestic solar installations. Along with solar power, Guess also mentioned that the wind and natural gas have been in high demand as well, as they are both relatively cheap when compared to other alternatives. On the other hand, nuclear power has seen a slight decrease in the power output, with old plants facing retirement and proposed plants having issues with being approved. Along with the inexpensive cost of these alternatives, regular citizens may be more inclined to switch over to renewable energy sources if this rapid increase continues.
Energy companies are also taking an interest in developing renewable energy. In Cody Matz’s article for FOX9, the CEO of Xcel Energy, Ben Fowke, stated Xcel is currently, “investing big in the wind because of the tremendous economic value it brings to our customers. With wind power at historic low prices, we can secure savings that will benefit customers now and for decades to come.” With this major rise in renewable energy, consumers may be able to take advantage of these new technologies sooner than expected. With natural gas, solar, wind, and other alternative energies becoming less expensive and more available, adoption by consumers, energy utilities, and local governments may accelerate.
Read more: Renewable energy generation in the U.S. dramatically exceeds 2012 predictions, Table ES1.B. Total Electric Power Industry Summary Statistics, Year to Date 2017 and 2016 , U.S. renewable energy is 7 times higher than just a decade ago