The United States Department of Energy claims that the future of clean energy has now arrived.
The Department released an annual report termed Energy Revolution 2015, which focused at delivering progress updates on four major technological areas in the field of clean energy. These four areas included electric vehicles, light-emitting diodes (LEDs), silicon photovoltaic (PV) solar modules, and land-based and produced wind power. According to ACHRNews, “Between 2008 and 2014, there were over 65 000 megawatts of land-based wind power that could sustain approximately 16 million homes, with another 13 600 megawatts under in construction in 2015.” It was determined that 31% of newly generated capacity in the United States came from land-based power.
Now in terms of solar power, over 8 gigawatts of solar photovoltaic cells were installed, which approximately power 1 million American homes. The growth of solar PV at a utility scale increased by 68% in 2014 alone. The 2015 update showed a tremendous reduction in costs due to government-funded initiatives that help everyone from the average homeowner to the larger-scale construction project manager or owner. The reduction in these clean energy costs is further driving the consumer and supplier interest as well as the commercial adoption of these renewable energy technologies into the industrial market. The report also outlined technologies that are on the verge on making an impact on the clean energy platform, including: vehicle light-weighting and smart building systems. The drive for adoption and interest of these technologies are effectively making them cost-competitive alternatives to the conventional carbon-emitting problem sources, which we are currently relying our time and money on.
As a growing professional, it is very refreshing to see some of these clean energy needs and goals starting to get satisfied as climate change becomes a more severe and looming issue in our generation. I remember these technologies being very much a thing of the future, so it is exciting to be living in a time where these challenges can be directly tackled in such a connected and seamless way now. The level of care and attention regarding this issue has definitely spiked over the past couple of decades but it is very interesting to see how that has changed. By developing new strategies, tools, products, and mindsets surrounding clean energy awareness and global warming, we are taking the lead in creating real-world solutions for the problems we currently face as a global population.
Moving forward, they are reshaping the way we use and produce our energy, in a mutually beneficial way. We are also restructuring our foundation so that future technologies can rely on more energy-efficient framework in terms of grids, for example. In turn, these initiatives will stimulate the economy in terms of job growth and domestic business. “The solar industry has been one of the fastest growing industries in the United States for the past five years. Costs are falling, deployment is booming, and factories are opening. As of the second quarter of 2015, total solar installed capacity in the U.S. surpassed more than 22.7 gigawatts with approximately 785 000 solar projects opening across the country,” said Dr. David Danielson, who is assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy at the Department of Energy.
Through its Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative, the Department of Energy is increasing competitiveness in the North American market by launching multiple funding programs including the Technology to Market funding program, which aims at bringing the innovation of clean energy technologies to the industrial marketplace. In fact, the Department of Energy just recently announced the contribution of $22.7 million for a variety of projects aimed at improving the costs of solar energy systems across the country and promoting the next generation of sustainable services and products. This alone, has pushed the private industry to do the same in the expectation of sharing in the profits.
In fact, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, and his wife Priscilla Chan, have joined Bill Gates in investing in new clean energy technologies as part of the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, which aims at combining the financial investments of 28 private investors from 10 countries who will take the risks needed to get these technologies out of the experimental phase and into the international market. It will be very interesting to see who takes suite as other influential figures such as Jeff Bezos has also added himself to the list of investors.