2018 is over, and a new year of energy evolution is upon us.
The past year laid a robust foundation for growth in 2019. It ended with six states and territories, including two of the three largest state economies, committing to 100 percent clean electricity. The solar industry weathered the much-feared tariffs without excessive bleeding. The list of cleantech failures was much shorter than in previous years.
There’s still plenty of room to grow. Solar only accounts for 1.3 percent of U.S. electricity generation, and wind produces 6.3 percent. Grid edge technologies are helping the grid adapt, but they’re still in limited real-world use.
Keeping in mind that contrast between heady potential and modest achievement so far, we shall venture into the prediction game to identify key clean energy developments to come over the new year.
More states commit to clean
GTM’s Emma Foehringer Merchant dubbed 2018 the year of 100 percent clean energy. Watch for another wave of jurisdictions to follow the past year’s trailblazers.
In 2018, California joined Hawaii in legislatively committing to a carbon-free electricity system. Governors in New Jersey, New York and Puerto Rico made their own executive commitments to that end. Washington, D.C.’s city council passed a target of 100 percent renewables by 2032.
For a while, debates over 100 percent clean energy policy broke down into intellectual tribalism, as different factions jostled over who had the better vision for a clean energy future. Meanwhile, skeptics could dismiss the whole exercise as a folly.
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