Renewable energy sector growth is impressively rapid; however, lack of affordable financing options for clean energy initiatives remains an impediment to progress toward clean energy for all.
Battery storage increases grid flexibility by absorbing excess energy during periods of peak demand and dispensing it later during times of higher load demand, leading to cost savings for energy providers and consumers alike.
Solar industry employment helps not only to foster economic development, but also create resilient communities.
Solar energy production significantly lowers carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions while helping preserve natural resources essential to the health of our planet.
Solar energy doesn’t rely on water resources to produce electricity, making it particularly suitable during droughts and heat waves when coal, nuclear and other power plants could run dry of water supply.
Independent solar systems can be installed on residential homes to provide power that does not rely on the grid, even in remote regions, greatly improving people’s lives.
Wind energy harnesses the wind to produce electricity, lowering carbon emissions and creating new jobs. Wind turbines can be found both large-scale – such as those found on wind farms – as well as more locally, such as cargo ships or even homes.
Innovative technology and research have made wind energy increasingly affordable, comparable with fossil fuels on the market.
Wind power is less harmful to wildlife than traditional energy sources it replaces, with wind turbines being responsible for far fewer bird deaths than buildings, power lines, cars or radio/cell towers. Furthermore, its energy security benefits reduce national vulnerability to price spikes or supply disruptions.
Biofuels (or fuels produced from biological raw materials), an alternative to fossil fuels, can be created through various agricultural crops or algae cultivation in wastewater, saline or brackish water sources.
Bioenergy jobs are expanding quickly. Under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, it is required that 36 billion gallons of renewable fuel be utilized by 2022; 21 billion of which must be advanced biofuel such as cellulosic ethanol or biomass-based biodiesel.
Advanced biofuels don’t compete with food supplies and can be produced from non-edible plants; making these new energy sources more cost-efficient than fossil fuels and decreasing reliance on foreign oil sources.
Hydropower is an established technology, using water’s kinetic energy to convert it to electricity. Not only does this technology reduce greenhouse gas emissions but it also provides power grid flexibility – something essential in an energy system comprised of 100% renewables.
Hydropower dams can also help regulate and store water supplies for local communities to manage drought and flooding that is becoming more likely due to climate change. Such projects provide sustainable water sources while alleviating poverty and hunger by giving access to clean drinking water sources.
Geothermal energy is an ideal way to create eco-friendly jobs because it operates 24/7 as a baseload source of power. Geothermal also emits significantly fewer greenhouse gases than coal, hydroelectric or wind sources of power generation.
Geothermal plants and ground loops use pipes to move specialized fluid through the ground, absorbing and discharging heat as it travels along. These systems can be retrofitted into existing buildings for sustainable heating and cooling solutions.
NREL is creating technologies to maximize the potential of extra-hot, supercritical geothermal resources with higher temperatures that require different engineering techniques than conventional geothermal resources for harvesting.
As more cars transition to electric models, new manufacturing plants and recharging stations are required to support them. Utility companies are investing hundreds of millions of dollars into adapting the electricity grid for widespread EV adoption – creating jobs for urban planners, electricians, and construction workers in this process.
Michigan’s auto industry should strengthen unionization for battery cell production and enforce prevailing wages for laborers who install EV chargers, as the shift toward electric vehicles (EV) can create new job opportunities in new sectors of the economy such as battery production rather than vehicle parts production.
Energy storage can be a game-changer for renewables, helping overcome their intermittent nature and providing homeowners and businesses with an opportunity to capture solar electricity during the day for use in the evening, or provide backup power if grid outages occur.
Utility-scale battery storage provides grid flexibility while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and can be integrated with smart grids or used as part of electrified transport (like electric vehicles (EVs). Battery packs from electric vehicles (EVs) may even be utilized with vehicle-to-grid technology so their stored energy can be fed back into the grid to provide additional services to the grid.