Given current changes to the Clean Power Plan, an initiative to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, concerns have risen in regards to the future of clean energy. These changes have lead many to ask: will utility companies continue to invest in clean energy?
The answer appears to be, as of now, yes. The Wall Street Journal reports that while the actions being taken on Capitol Hill will bring new life to some failing coal-fired plants, long-term investments in natural gas, wind, and solar will remain unphased.
As the green energy movement has gained momentum and older coal plants have given way to gas-fired plants, large numbers of utilities are taking advantage of tax credits to modernize and pursue clean energy. Solar and wind farms have become more cost-competitive and part of much larger and less likely to change 10 year plans for companies such as Duke Energy Corp.
Duke CEO Lynn Good explains, “Because of the competitive price of natural gas and the declining price of renewables, continuing to drive carbon out makes sense for us.” Natural gas generated energy for the utility company has risen from 5% in 2005 to 28% in 2017, with natural gas expected to be the primary fuel by 2026.
Southern Co. expects to invest $1 billion over the next five years to build new wind farms. On the whole, U.S. based utilities generated more energy through natural gas (nearly 3.8 million megawatt-hours daily) than through coal in 2016. While theorists predict that changes to the Clean Power Plan will cause a decline in natural and renewable resource based energy in 2020, a rebound trend is also foreseen by the 2030 deadline.
Politics, clean energy, and renewable resources can each co-exist to aid the environment and ensure that you, the consumer, are able to make the best possible investment for your future. Alterations to the Clean Power Plan allow failing coal plants an opportunity to rebound and restructure.
According to North Dakota based Basin Electric Power Cooperative spokesman Mike Eggl, “We’re building natural gas and wind, but that doesn’t mean we would take a perfectly functioning coal facility and not consider that a valuable resource as well.” Energy efficiency is dedicated to the notion of finding the best solutions to decrease energy use and production. Clean energy is still on the rise, and as many indicators point out, a reliable source of energy for long term sustainability.