Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) – Renewable energy continues to burgeon rapidly in the United States. Here are some of the signs of a major transformation that may not always be apparent on the surface:
1. The US tripled that amount of money invested in offshore wind in 2022 to $9.8 billion, according to Kassia Micek at S&P Global and Ros Davidson at Windpower Monthly.. Some of these investments were in bids let by the Biden administration for government controlled seas off the coast, but some $4 billion was invested in port infrastructure. The federal government leased 11.4 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity, which generated $5.4 billion for the government.
2. Davidson also says that state goals for offshore wind now stand at 77.4 gigawatts, which is more than twice President Biden’s stated target of 30 gigawatts from this source by 2030. While much of this new power generation capacity won’t come on line for several years, two large offshore wind farms, Vineyard Wind and South Fork Wind, will go live in the Atlantic this year. Those two will together generate as much as 1 gigawatt of new electricity, the amount put out by a small nuclear reactor. While nuclear plants have the advantage of being more consistent than wind, offshore winds blow more steadily than do those over land, and states are increasingly storing electricity with mega-batteries (California has 3 gigawatts worth), which allows more of the electricity generated actually to reach the grid. Over all, states will buy 25% more electricity generated by offshore wind in 2023 than they did last year.
3. The Biden Administrations Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 gives 30% tax credits to companies that develop offshore wind installations, creating a new gold rush.
4. Wind turbines of all sorts now generate 10% of the electricity produced in the United States annually.
5. Wind and solar energy will continue to fall in price. Already, Jane Marsh reports at Environmental Protection, coal plants are 99% more expensive to operate than wind and solar farms.
6. Marsh says that renewable energy is increasingly a money-maker for investors and will generate nearly $3 trillion by 2030.