As per Steve Piper, who is the research director in charge of the energy at the S&P Global Market Intelligence, decreasing electric-sector carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2030 — and 100 percent by 2035 — will need an “extraordinary” commitment from sector and government leaders alike.
According to the research, meeting those commitments will require an extra 450 GW of solar and 630 GW of wind by 2035, or nearly 85 GW of the new renewable energy per year. Between 2023 and 2035, the construction would cost $1.2 trillion, or about $94 billion annually.
According to Piper, these figures, as high as they may appear, aren’t too far off from where the sector is already headed, centered on the current demand from the utilities, corporate purchasers, and state decarbonization projects. The United States is on schedule to install 63 GW of additional renewable energy within the next two years, meaning the industry only has to grow by 30-50 percent to reach the 85 GW goal.
“As much additional investment as it involves, and as historically unexpected as it may appear,” Piper added, “the expenses appear to us doable.” “All it takes is a consistent effort and devotion.”
The aims happen to coincide with those set by SEIA on its own. Solar energy will account for 14-15 percent of US energy generation by the year 2030 if current trends continue. SEIA had hoped to raise this percentage to 20% but announced intentions to aim for 30% instead in order to better match with the severity of climate change and increased federal backing, according to Whitten.
Solar would provide for 850 GW of total capacity at 30% of US output, significantly over the 320 GW suggested by S&P for the same time period, and only short of the entire 1,080 GW of renewables needed to cut electric industry emissions by 80%, according to S&P.
“There’s a shared tone with CEPP and the targets that both Biden and sector are setting — and clearly, all of that represents efforts to cut carbon emissions in the electricity sector and truly move toward decarbonization,” Whitten added. “You have to have goals in order for things to happen.” Whitten, like Piper, feels the new 30 percent goal is possible if the sector, utilities, and government can come together around common goals.
Piper believes that federal subsidies and a push to develop new renewable energy solutions would go a great way toward meeting the emissions goals. Meanwhile, according to Whitten, SEIA is lobbying for a 10-year investment tax credit extension with the direct pay option and less trade restrictions and domestic manufacturing. To meet the new climate goals, he said, more investment in the transmission expansion is required.
“I believe we can do something significant,” he remarked. “I believe that critical measures can and will be implemented and that this will have a significant impact on the electric sector.”