- A new report on the US renewable energy market by BloombergNEF sees strong growth for both solar and wind energy by 2030
- While solar energy additions between now and 2030 are expected to add up to 287 GW, 115 GW of wind energy is likely to be added to the grid
- Customer sited solar installations will add 8 GW capacity every year on an average till the end of 2030
- Analysts believe there should be annual solar and wind energy additions of at least 70 GW from 2025 onwards for the administration to meet its target of net zero emissions power sector by 2035
By the year 2030, 287 GW of solar power capacity is likely to come online in the US, along with 115 GW of wind energy. Solar power is alone forecast to add 25 GW annually over the next 4 years, across all sectors, yet this is not going to be enough for the country to be able to achieve its target of zero emissions for power sector by 2035.
In its new report titled 1H 2021 US Renewable Energy Market Outlook, Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) argues that for the US to achieve a carbon free grid by 2035, it would need to add a minimum of around 70 GW of wind and solar annually from 2025 onwards. Instead, their forecast currently sees an ‘average of 43 GW per year after 2025’ hence there is a ‘significant gap’ between the report’s outlook and the administration’s ambition, said Head of North America Research at BloombergNEF Tom Rowlands Rees.
Customer sited solar installations are expected to add 8 GW on an average a year till the end of this decade with 1/3rd of these systems coming up in California alone. According to the analysts, ‘storage becomes more relevant for project economics as net metering is phased out’.
Yet there is more scope for wind energy to grow as the analysts see offshore wind as the ‘big winner’ of the Biden presidency, with capacity additions starting from 2024. Onshore wind too is anticipated to have another big year of build in 2021, but installations may drop from 2022 as tax credits continue to be reduced. Once these are completely removed in 2026, it would depend on merchant market to grow further.
Recently, US President Joe Biden led administration shared a $2.25 trillion American Jobs Plan extending support to clean energy while proposing 10-year extension for Investment Tax Credit and introducing storage tax credit (see US President Proposes 10-Year Extension For ITC).
Referring to this plan, Rees expressed hope that the Clean Energy Standard, as mentioned in the American Jobs Plan, could close the gap between the country’s renewable energy prospects and the administration’s 2035 ambitions.
He cautioned though, “However, such a standard is likely to prove contentious politically and would face a difficult passage through Congress if proposed, and potentially legal challenges from states and utilities. Tax credits certainly help the renewables sector grow, but a Clean Energy Standard is the hill on which the battle to fully decarbonize the US power sector could be won or lost.”