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Report Finds Green Energy Prices Competitive with Fossil Fuels
New technologies that harness renewable resources are, or will soon be, economically competitive with fossil fuels, according to a new report.
The joint report, released by the Worldwatch Institute and the Center for American Progress, finds that renewable resources currently provide just over 6 percent of total U.S. energy, but that figure could increase rapidly in the coming years. Dynamic growth rates are driving down costs and spurring rapid advances in technologies, the report says.
Since 2000, global wind energy generation has more than tripled; solar cell production has risen six-fold; and biodiesel production has expanded nearly four-fold. Annual global investment in "new" renewable energy has risen almost six-fold since 1995, with cumulative investment over this period nearly $180 billion, according to the report.
Some findings in the report include:
- America boasts some of the world's best renewable energy resources, which have the potential to meet a rising and significant share of the nation's energy demand. For example, one-fourth of U.S. land area has winds powerful enough to generate electricity as cheaply as natural gas and coal, and the solar resources of just seven southwest states could provide 10 times the current electric generating capacity.
- All but four U.S. states now have incentives in place to promote renewable energy, while more than a dozen have enacted new renewable energy laws in the past few years, and four states strengthened their targets in 2005.
- California gets 31 percent of its electricity from renewable resources; 12 percent of this comes from non-hydro sources such as wind and geothermal energy.
- Texas now has the country's largest collection of wind generators. The United States led the world in wind energy installations in 2005.
- Renewable energy creates more jobs per unit of energy produced and per dollar spent than fossil fuel technologies do.
The report can be accessed on the Worldwatch Web site.