ORIGINAL REPORTING: Survey Shows Utilities Expect New Energy Expansion
Why utilities are more confident than ever about renewable energy growth; Concerns about integrating high levels of wind and solar are waning, Utility Dive's sector survey shows
Herman K. Trabish, April 25, 2017 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: Today’s headlines show the corrupt politicians now disrupting the New Energy revolution by defending fossil fuels don’t know what the utility leaders who speak out here know.
At the turn of the millennium, only wide-eyed dreamers in the power sector would have claimed renewable energy would play a major role on the U.S. grid. Wind and solar were simply too expensive and too difficult to integrate but today that is becoming a reality. More than 80% of North American utility employees expect renewable energy to increase moderately or significantly in their service areas over the next decade, according to Utility Dive’s fourth annual State of the Electric Utility (SEU) survey. Almost three-quarters (72%) see a moderate or significant increase in utility-scale wind, and more than 80% see moderate or significant growth for utility-scale solar. Distributed generation also fared well, with 83% predicting some degree of growth, albeit from a lower starting point.
Those results build on trends observed in the last three years of Utility Dive surveys, as well as the input of key industry figures. For utility-scale resources, the economics of renewable energy and natural gas were expected to be key in fueling their growth. Along with renewables, 62% of survey respondents expect moderate or significant growth in natural gas generation, while 79% expect to see at least moderate coal retirements in the next decade. Nuclear, on the other hand, was expected to stagnate across most of the nation, with declines anticipated in particular regions. Consumer sentiment and improving economics for renewables are helping drive utility interest in wind, solar and distributed energy, the survey showed, strengthening trends present in past Utility Dive surveys. But this year, respondents also indicated they were less concerned about the integration of these intermittent resources, reflecting a growing confidence in the operation of the transforming power system… click here for more
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