Today, the American Clean Power Association released its first Clean Power Annual report. Accordingly, this document shows how wind, utility solar, and battery storage power capacity in the U.S. grew in 2020.
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In fact, as ACP reports, renewable energy capacity topped 170 gigawatts (GW); thus, following a record 26 GW of clean energy projects coming online in 2020.
Reception and comments
In this sense, Heather Zichal, CEO of the American Clean Power Association, commented in a media release; “Indeed, the Clean Power Annual is a testament to the record growth and investment across the renewable energy industry; particularly in the United States today. Accordingly, the energy transition is well underway as we aim to meet important climate targets and create good-paying American jobs.”
Besides, she continued, “the clean power industry is helping to rebuild the U.S. economy while combating the climate crisis. Therefore, we hope this report can be a tool and resource; especially as our industry drives innovation and job-creating investments in every American state.”
In fact, and it is worth noting, the rapid pace of new clean power installations included 16,836 MW of land-based wind; thus, representing 50 percent of new additions. Also, 8,894 MW of utility-scale solar projects, capturing 26 percent of the market. And lastly, 760 MW of battery storage capacity.
Therefore, combined wind, solar, and battery storage power represent 78 percent of new power installations in 2020.
Just to provide a quick picture of the improvements, in 2010, just 28 percent of new power installations came from wind, solar, and battery storage. In contrast, the amount of new wind capacity in 2020 is more than three times the amount installed in 2010. Similarly, the amount of solar installed in 2020 is almost 4,000 percent higher than was installed ten years ago.
Accordingly, these results reflect how cost declines and the growth in the industry have made wind and solar power competitive energy sources. On the other hand, ACP reported that, in contrast, there was only 4 MW of battery storage installed in 2010.
ACP report – renewables on the rise
Similarly, ACP noted that clean power technologies now deliver 10.7 percent of the nation’s electricity. Additionally, current U.S. operating utility wind and solar capacity can power the equivalent of over 50 million homes.
Worth noting, the association underscored that over 415,000 Americans have direct clean energy jobs. Accordingly, wind turbine technicians and solar installers are the country’s first and third fastest-growing occupations.
In this sense, ACP expects that industry momentum combined with supportive policies and regulations could deliver over 1 million clean energy jobs by 2030.
The report also finds clean power projects brought online in 2020 represent roughly $39 billion in investment. Clean energy also provided nearly unmatched investment into local communities; for instance, in 2020, the clean power industry paid an estimated $1.7 billion in state and local taxes—also, the sector provided nearly $800 million in lease payments to landowners across the country.
Notably, growth is continuing across the industry, with nearly 90,000 MW of clean energy projects underway. Lastly, but not less important, the report shows that the unsubsidized cost of energy for wind power fell 71% since 2009. Similarly, solar prices fell 90% since then as well.