Rapid Deployment and Decreasing Costs of Clean Energy in the U.S.

Revolution now clean energy

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today released a new report that highlights the accelerated deployment of five clean energy technologies: wind turbines, solar technologies for both utility-scale and distributed photovoltaic (PV), electric vehicles (EVs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs). The report, Revolution…Now, was announced by Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz during a discussion at The Atlantic’s Washington Ideas Forum.

Revolution…Now is annually updated and describes the decreasing cost and increasing deployment of clean energy technologies in the United States. As the world continues to move toward a low-carbon economy, this 2016 update released today builds upon last year’s edition and details the economic and environmental benefits our nation is already starting to realize thanks to the increased deployment.

“This report is further proof that our commitment to clean energy and American innovation can lead to steep cost reductions and sharp increases in the deployment of advanced technologies,” Secretary Moniz said. “We need to continue pushing the innovation agenda that leads to these kinds of dramatic cost reductions for all low-carbon technologies and increases America’s competitiveness and independence in the global clean energy economy.”

DOE’s continued investments in the research and advancement of the five clean energy technologies highlighted in Revolution…Now have contributed to price reductions from 40 percent to as high as 94 percent since 2008. Highlights from the report detail the dramatic increases in America’s clean energy deployment, which include:

  • Land-based wind accounted for 41 percent of all new capacity brought online in 2015. Overall, wind generated enough electricity to power more than 17 million households.
  • Utility-scale solar PV represented 15 percent of all newly installed electricity generation capacity in 2015. Overall utility-scale PV generated enough electricity to power over 2 million homes.
  • Distributed solar PV has reached one million rooftop installations on homes and businesses after experiencing a 54 percent reduction in overall costs since 2008.
  • In total, wind and solar accounts for two-thirds of all new, U.S. installed electricity capacity.
  • Installation of LED A-type bulbs exceeded 200 million through 2015 – growing 160 percent over 2014.
  • Total sales of electric vehicles (EV) has soared closer to the half million mark with 490,000 EVs on the road as of August 2016.

Increased deployment of clean energy technologies is already revealing real-time benefits. Solar power saved 17 million metric tons of CO2 in 2014 – leading to reduced water consumption and decreased air pollution that equate to nearly $700 million in environmental savings.  LEDs use 85 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs and projections show that increased installation could allow for up to $630 billion in energy saving for American’s between now and 2035.

In addition to these five rapidly growing technologies, the report also discusses four emerging technologies. These additional technologies – fuel cells, grid-connected batteries, energy management systems and big area additive manufacturing, commonly known as 3-D printing – are on the cusp of wider deployment in the coming years. As these technologies become even more cost-effective and widely available, the economic and environmental benefits will grow.

DOE will continue its research and development for these core and emerging technologies as it works to further reduce market barriers and continue innovation that strengthen the clean energy revolution and transform the way in which our nation produces and uses energy.

The full copy of the Revolution…Now report can be found here.

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