Forbes Contributor Silvio Marcacci
Energy Innovation’s Communications Director
2019 may have been the year clean energy irreversibly turned a corner toward dominance in the United States. After all, who could have foreseen last January that America would realize existing coal can’t compete against new renewables, see new solar-plus-storage beat new natural gas generation on price, have 13 states and territories committed to 100% clean electricity, or envision a path to nationwide net zero emissions?
So what will 2020 hold? Increasingly ambitious state policy combined with fast-falling technology prices could mean record renewable energy installations. Expanding efforts to decarbonize U.S. power supplies and buildings could shutter fossil fuel infrastructure faster than ever. Five leading energy and climate policy experts shared their predictions for the year and decade ahead with Energy Innovation Communications Director Silvio Marcacci. Continue reading here.
ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
- 2020 Outlook: 10 trends driving the US power sector, Utility Dive
The U.S. power sector is undergoing a fundamental transformation, and has been for some time. But what are the biggest trends to watch in 2020? In speaking to a cross section of industry observers, the following 10 emerged.
- The future of energy is solar + storage, Solar Power World
“Today’s aging energy infrastructure is ill-equipped to deal with the impacts and risks of a changing climate. We need modern, bold solutions to transform the way that our electricity system works — providing power where people live and work. That means empowering people to develop local clean energy, including home solar and batteries as we transition to 100% clean energy for all,” said Anne Hoskins, CPO at Sunrun, in a press release.
- Xcel plan to idle coal plants could save millions, slash carbon emissions; could Wisconsin utilities do the same?, Wisconsin State Journal. The investment firm Morgan Stanley forecast last month that at least 70,000 megawatts of coal generators — about half in the Midwest — are economically at risk from the next wave of renewable energy deployment. This is on top of 24,000 megawatts of coal power already scheduled for retirement. Carbon-dependent utilities have an opportunity to boost earnings by retiring coal and investing in renewable energy, the report found. But here’s the kicker: Morgan Stanley says these investments could also save U.S. ratepayers as much as $8 billion a year in what one analyst called a “triple bottom line” that benefits shareholders, ratepayers and the environment.
- Midwest coal producers attempt to cut costs, escalating pollution worries, Energy News Network
A recent report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) predicts coal production in the Illinois Basin, which underlies Illinois, Indiana and western Kentucky, will largely disappear within two decades.
- Why Kansas CO2 emissions are at lowest level in 40 years, Salina Post
About 36% of all electricity produced in Kansas is from wind, the highest percentage of any U.S. state.
- Seattle to transition city-owned buildings away from fossil fuels, Utility Dive
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan on Wednesday signed an executive order advancing a Green New Deal for the city.
- The innovative design of one of the world’s largest net-zero buildings, GreenBiz
RENEWABLE ENERGY & WILDLIFE
- A desert solar farm can actually improve desert tortoise habitat, PV Magazine
With tortoise-sized openings at the bottom of the fence, and improved growth of plants vital to tortoise survival, a solar farm in Nevada can provide better habitat than the surrounding desert. First Solar found similar habitat gains in California.
- Previously Posted: Solar and pollinators: a photo essay, PV Magazine
All the solar installations shown in this photo essay by Rob Davis of Fresh Energy have a mix of flowering species in sufficient diversity, or covering a sufficient portion of the project, to meet pollinator-friendly standards created by entomologists.
- Removing obstacles for responsibly expanding wind energy: Now is the time to join the Wind Wildlife Research Fund, contributed article by Rob Caldwell, President of Duke Energy Renewables, Into the Wind, AWEA Blog
8 electric truck and van companies to watch in 2020, by contributor Shane Downing, GreenBiz
In recent months, we’ve shone attention on companies racing to bring electric aviation to the skies in the coming decades. Now, it’s time to spotlight startups and automotive giants working to electrify dirty delivery and distribution trucks in the coming years.
NEW GREEN BIZ REPORT
The State of Green Business, 2020, by Joel Makower, Chairman & Executive Director, GreenBiz Group
Today, we publish our 13th annual State of Green Business report, examining the key trends and metrics about corporate sustainability: how, and how well, companies are making progress in assessing and minimizing their impacts and embracing a range of strategies that move them forward in significant ways. It’s our annual report card on progress by the world’s largest companies: the 500 largest publicly traded companies in the United States and the 1,200 largest in the world. It’s a free download. The report was produced in partnership with Trucost, part of financial information and analytics giant S&P Global.