Four Renewable Energy Projections to Celebrate This Earth Day
12 Apr 2017
Earth day is a global environmental movement dedicated to strengthening sustainable practices and combatting climate change. Since its creation in 1970, billions of people have embraced April 22 as a way to project environmental issues onto the world stage. This Earth Day, many people worldwide are concerned about the future of renewable energy under the Trump Administration. Just last month, President Trump signed an executive order to dismantle the Clean Power Plan. However, despite a change in environmental priorities within the White House, there are plenty of reasons to be excited about what’s in store for clean energy this year.
Offshore Wind Power is Making Gains
If you haven’t noticed offshore wind farms yet – such as the one off the coast of Block Island, Rhode Island – there is a chance you could in the near future. Offshore projects are becoming increasingly popular due to the widespread benefits and viability of wind power. Fast-forward to 2030, and wind energy could supply up to 20 percent of global electricity, slashing CO2 emissions by more than 3.3 billion tons in the process. Critical to the production of wind power is copper; a metal whose strength and reliability make it ideal for cables, connectors, and generator windings, which are tasked with performing even in the harshest environments.
Solar Power Continues to Skyrocket
In 2016, the U.S. solar industry experienced unprecedented growth, nearly doubling its annual market record and producing one out of every 50 new jobs across the nation. As employment within the industry skyrockets and demand for clean energy grows, copper will continue to play a vital role by increasing the efficiency and performance of photovoltaic (PV) cells and modules. With 14,625 megawatts (MW) of solar PV installed in 2016 – a 95 percent increase from the previous year – we should expect the market to continue to climb.
Energy Security Concerns May Boost Energy Storage
Securing the nation’s electrical grid has become increasingly important amidst looming threats of cyber-attacks and concern regarding aging infrastructure. The U.S. bolstered their energy storage with a record 221 MW in 2016. Renewable energy is critical to the grid’s protection, and copper’s high conductivity and durability make the metal a primary resource for building and strengthening it. Copper is becoming an irreplaceable element of energy security, as wind and solar power production grow and dependency on reliable energy storage increases.
Solar Costs Drop While Jobs Soar
For the first time, solar energy ranked at the top of new electric generating capacity additions last year. And while critics say renewables are impractical and expensive, plummeting clean energy costs have inspired the state of California to commit to 50 percent renewable energy by 2030. When it comes to electricity generation in the US, the Department of Energy’s 2017 Energy and Employment Report suggests that the solar industry now employs more people than coal, oil, and gas combined. In addition, companies are finding innovative ways to promote clean energy, from solar roof tiles to solar fields at airports. Regardless of the type of renewable, copper’s superior natural properties are helping build a strong, sustainable future by promoting clean energy.
For more information on copper’s use in renewables, visit copper.org.