For decades, investors were apprehensive about investing in renewable energy markets. But over the past decade, the price of U.S. renewable energy has been dropping. In most of the country, it is now cheaper to build a new source of solar or wind energy than to maintain an existing coal plant. And Green Development LLC stands at the forefront of this clean energy boom.
Many people still believe that an energy transition presents a choice between a livable climate and a thriving economy. This is a misconception. Renewable energy sources were less affordable decades ago, but they are now the responsible economic choice. They are also the necessary choice.
Affordable and Renewable Energy is the Future
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, more electricity was generated from wind and solar energy than from non-renewables for the first time in 2019. This is the culmination of a decades-long trend of growth in the green energy market.
Wind and solar are not the only thriving clean energy industries. Renewable hydroelectric energy has also become more available and affordable. In the past several years, the price of hydroelectric power has dropped by 12%.
Besides the question of affordability, grid-scale battery storage is on the rise. This new technology allows communities to store clean energy for future use, further reducing the price of peak-period electricity.
An Important Tool to Combat the Climate Crisis
The increasing affordability of renewable energy is good news for the battle against climate change. Though often at the center of political debate, the data is clear - the climate crisis which includes extreme weather events such as floods, hurricanes, heatwaves, and forest fires, is becoming more severe each year. The consequences go beyond mere human costs.
In fact, 2020 was a record year for economic costs from extreme weather. Nationwide, the U.S. suffered 22 separate billion-dollar extreme weather events in 2020. These extreme weather events resulted in $95 billion in damages. The most economically damaging weather events of 2020 were:
- Hurricane Laura - $19 billion in damages
- The Western wildfires - $16.5 billion in damages
- The Midwestern Derecho - $11 billion in damages
2020 was historic in this regard. But the U.S. has experienced many billion-dollar weather disasters over the past several decades. Since 1980, the United States has suffered 285 separate billion-dollar climate events.
The economic and infrastructural costs of these climate disasters are enormous. From 2006-2020, the U.S. sustained $1.036 trillion in weather damages. It is important to note that this number does not account for all climate-related damages. This staggering figure represents only the damage caused by billion-dollar weather events.
As the climate crisis continues to unfold, the percentage of total weather damage accounted for by billion-dollar events is increasing. Between 1980 and 2000, billion-dollar climate disasters constituted 75% of all weather-related damages. In 2010, billion-dollar events made up 80% of the total. By 2020, they accounted for 85% of weather damages.
Experts believe that dangerous climate trends will become more threatening at a global temperature rise of 2° Celsius. It will take renewable energy to avoid that threshold. Transitioning to clean energy is practical in the short-term, and it is necessary for the medium-term.
Luckily, renewable energy sources are now outpacing coal and fossil fuel energy. Even in light of the fossil fuel industry's heavy subsidies, solar and wind power are more affordable and accessible than ever before. This trend is expected to continue.
Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE)
Levelized cost of electricity is a metric that compares different energy generation models. LCOE integrates information about the monetary cost of an energy facility throughout the course of its operation.
Each year, LCOE analyses show that renewable energy facilities are outperforming fossil fuels by increasingly larger margins. In other words, renewable energy is not just more affordable right now. It is becoming even more affordable over time when compared to non-renewables.
For example, wind energy costs have plummeted 70% over the past ten years. Since 2010, the amount of domestic wind energy production has more than doubled. Solar power prices have decreased by 89% in that same time, according to Lazard's 2019 LCOE analysis.
The good news is that the economic incentives are now in line with the need for a greener planet. Renewable energy companies like Green Development LLC are poised for continued growth for decades into the future.
About Green Development, LLC
Green Development, LLC has played an important role in transforming and diversifying Rhode Island's energy portfolio. By providing a sustainable and reliable energy supply, the company helps generate in-state investment, increase energy security, and boost economic activity. Its renewable energy projects create local job opportunities, including construction, component manufacturing, service, and maintenance.