By Gary Thomas
According to a new study from Frost & Sullivan's U.S. Energy Challenges for 2020 research, energy consumption in the United States will rise by 7.3% over a 10-year period when compared to 2010 levels.
To fulfill this raising demand, the market has seen significant development in renewable technologies, with focus on sustainability and domestic energy production. Wind power and solar photovoltaic are witnessing the strongest growth and will account for over 40% of electricity production in 2020.
The Department of Energy reported that there will be a need for 223 GW of new production capacity between the period 2010 and 2035. Local transmission infrastructure capability is essential to build large renewable energy projects in order to achieve the required GW capacity. Upgrading process of this capability is underway to handle new production forms and expanding loads. Moreover, shortage in transmission lines is impeding the growth of large utility-scale solar power projects and wind power projects, and may represent a barrier to some states to achieve renewable energy mandates.
The need for high capital costs is a barrier to the growth of renewable technologies, emphasizing the significance of government financial subsidies. The 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s Section 1603 played a key role in driving solar installations between 2010 and 2011. However, the industry has suffered a setback as Congress failed to continue the Section 1603 of the Treasury Program. Investment tax credit programs, production tax credit, and termination of the loan guarantee are equally important. These items helped in achieving a 33% rise in wind power in 2011 when compared to the 2010 value. If these subsidies are not continued, renewable energy production gets affected severely.
In order to address energy issues, the US energy industry has concentrated on the ramp up of renewable energy installations and energy efficiency applications to offset imports and enhance the equilibrium between demand and supply. This initiative is supported by a technology trend of advancing to zero, where companies aim at researching on zero-emission technologies, including biomass, solar photovoltaic, geothermal energy and wind power.