NRDC report says U.S. clean-energy transition unstoppable

A new National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) report says the nationwide momentum for clean energy is “undeniable” and “irresistible.”

In its fourth annual clean-energy report, Accelerating Into a Clean Energy Future, says a precipitous decline in coal generation, combined with rapidly falling prices for renewable energy, is pushing everyone in the electricity supply chain, from consumers to utilities, toward the less expensive alternatives.

“The fact that clean energy costs less than dirty coal cannot be denied,” the NRDC report contends. “And that means lower utility bills for consumers as well.”

Two other critical factors have played roles in creating the aura of inevitability surrounding renewable energy. First, many utilities are finding creative ways to work with the solar industry instead of opposing it.

Second, state-level solar policies have become far more important to moving the industry forward. With less dependence on federal policy, the recent shift in administrations shouldn’t significantly affect the growth and stability of the renewable energy industries — and those that aren’t investing in clean energy may be falling behind.

Regardless of partisan ideological differences and even the possibility of climate naysayers in prominent federal roles, our clean energy transition is unstoppable for all the right reasons: lower bills, more jobs, and cleaner air, the NRDC wrote.

In fact, another recent NRDC report found that states that didn’t invest in clean energy, are seeing both increased electricity bills and higher power-plant pollution emissions from coal-fired electricity generation.

Since most of the significant solar-policy battles have moved stateward, most experts are predicting little, if any, change in the way the new administration deals with clean energy.

The only exception is if the incoming president and his advisors find ways to drive down fossil-fuel prices below solar prices, shifting the energy mix back in the direction of dirty energy technologies. But most analysts who’ve looked at the problem don’t see a clear path for that development to take hold.

The NRDC expects local authorities and the private sector to embrace the market trends that support pollution-free energy, since technologies like solar-energy support continues to poll around 90 percent among U.S. residents, regardless of political affiliation.