Jan 3, 2021: The Future is Renewables

Renewable energies keep increasing, despite efforts to shore up fossil fuels. Retardation of the advance of renewables will not be the order of the day under a Biden Administration. Still the pace of change could be accelerated if markets operate logically and artificial brakes are not applied. “Leading U.S. utilities increasingly understand that renewable electricity can be a driver of rate base growth while legacy assets become a drag on cash flow.” (https://www.spglobal.com/marketintelligence/en/news-insights/research/the-2020-us-renewable-energy-outlook)

I was inspired to write about this by this article in Politico. https://www.politico.com/news/2020/12/29/trump-biden-clean-energy-451546

Pretty easy to find charts showing growth, such as this chart from a Forbes article. https://www.forbes.com/sites/rrapier/2020/08/02/renewable-energy-growth-continues-at-a-blistering-pace/?sh=ea515de76b60

https://www.forbes.com/sites/rrapier/2020/08/02/renewable-energy-growth-continues-at-a-blistering-pace/?sh=30f5c0da76b6

There’s a lot the Biden Administration can do: Allow states (e.g., CA) to impose vehicle emissions limitations, energy efficiency (starting by not complaining about shower flow), offshore wind permits (NIMBY concerns notwithstanding), policies and personnel that seriously take a look at carbon tax and more.

Here in Tennessee there’s a sense that it leads other Southeastern states, notably in hydroelectric power. But Tennessee does not have a renewables portfolio standard, so there’s a lot of variation and uncertainty. Groups exist to promote renewables here in TN, such as the Tennessee Renewable Energy & Economic Development Council (TREEDC), which is a statewide network of 101 city and county mayors and businesses working together to create a path to fast-track renewables in Tennessee. Projects listed on their website: statewide energy forums, project development/financing, legislative outreach, solar development for communities, municipal wastes to energy, biofuels for governmental fleets, compressed natural gas for fleets. Maryville is among the government partners. https://www.treedc.us/index.html

We’ll revisit this topic in 2021 because the pace of renewables adoption and standardization deserves our attention.