Despite the massive growth and advancements in green energy output, the majority of Americans will remain dependent on natural gas and coal in the coming years. According to recent estimates from the U.S. Environmental Information Administration (EIA), coal will account for 32% and natural gas will provide 35% of the energy used by Americans until the year 2040.
That is particularly interesting considering the fact that the EIA also expects renewable electricity generation to increase steadily over that time as well. Moving forward nearly all of newly installed energy sources will be renewable, so a shift seems likely.
In January, almost the entirety of new electricity capacity installation in the U.S. was made up of renewable energy and, a study by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission last October found nearly the same trend. For the most part, wind and solar installation is driving that growth.
On top of that, the Energy Department pledged $10 million to try to find ways to yield power from ocean waves in Hawaii and, last week, $15 million was set aside to further solar energy efforts. The addition of those funds to other programs already in place should spur President Obama’s “all of the above” plan, as it has been called, and allow 6 million American homes to be powered by renewable electricity by 2020.
“Homeowners will gradually become independent of fossil fuels altogether,” says Jason Hanshaw, President and CEO of Hanshaw Electric.
Even with all the progress, it is going to take governmental policies to allow green energy to become a more viable alternative to traditional energy sources.
“If existing policies supporting renewable energy aren’t allowed to expire, however, renewable energy will account for nearly a quarter of the electricity generated by 2040, EIA said,” writes Daniel J. Greaber.
Without tax credits for alternative energies and other governmental policies, it will be hard for any significant changes to be made and Americans’ dependence on coal and natural gas will remain largely the same. But if the Obama administration and their predecessors truly want to depend on green energy, investments from the government will be vital.