Energy Transition

'Staggering': US on cusp of 600 GW clean energy boom

Wind turbines and solar panels.

The US is expected to double its wind power capacity by the end of this decade. Image: Pixabay/seagul

Stuart Stone
Analyst, BusinessGreen
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  • Solar, wind and energy storage capacity in the US are on track to rise significantly this decade, according to a new BloombergNEF report.
  • It predicts that 358 GW of new solar capacity will be deployed between 2023 and 2030 – almost three times the total installed as of 2022.
  • However, the surge in new renewables development is still not in line with net zero goals and could yet be hampered by permitting delays and grid connection challenges, the report warns.

The U.S. is poised to deliver 600 GW of new solar, wind, and energy storage capacity through to the end of the decade, according to the latest U.S. Clean Energy Market Outlook from BloombergNEF (BNEF).

The influential analyst firm said the U.S. renewables sector was poised for "staggering" growth off the back of the White House's Inflation Reduction Act, which features a raft of tax credits and policy support measures for clean energy developers across the country.

The report predicts 358 GW of new solar capacity is set to be deployed between 2023 and 2030, delivering almost three times the total solar capacity installed as of 2022.

A further 137 GW of wind power capacity is expected by the end of the decade, which would nearly double total wind capacity compared to 2022 levels.

Additionally, 111 GW of new battery storage capacity is expected to deployed by 2030, marking a nine-fold increase on current capacity.

"While structural constraints, such as permitting and grid connections, and higher cost of capital threaten buildout, BNEF expects this to be outweighed by favorable economics and demand for clean power from states, utilities, corporations, households and investors," the report states.

However, the report also warned that the surge in new renewables development is still not in line with net zero goals and could yet be hampered by permitting delays and grid connection challenges. It said that while there is a growing awareness of the need to boost grid capacity the projects $83 billion of grid investment through to 2030 was still $172 billion short of the level needed to align with net-zero targets.

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Significant reforms to regulatory frameworks and permitting, and more support for supply chains, is urgently required to realize the required scale of investment for net zero, the report argued.

The report comes as a letter signed by a multisector U.S. coalition of more than 40 clean energy organizations, environmental groups, developers, manufacturers, labor and consumer groups and other nonprofits was this week sent to Congress urging funding for high-capacity transmission deployment and research through the U.S. Department of Energy's budget.

The letter highlights an abundance of new research urgently calling for additional electric transmission infrastructure nationwide. Moreover, it states that increased funding for the Grid Deployment Office, Office of Electricity and Energy Information Administration is "critical" to accelerating clean energy deployment, unleashing billions of dollars in private investment, creating thousands of new jobs, delivering low-cost energy to benefit customers and reducing emissions.

"The expansion and modernization of our national power grid is central to meeting our urgent climate and energy security goals," the organizations wrote.

The news also came as Google this week announced a new partnership to deliver more than 80 distributed solar PV projects totaling 500 MW of new capacity. The tech giant and EDP Renewables North America inked a solar framework agreement which is said to be the largest corporate sponsorship of distributed solar development in the U.S., according to data from S&P Global and BloombergNEF.

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Dubbed the Clean Energy Financial Benefit Sharing Program, the scheme will be part funded through Google's purchase of a novel renewable energy credit called the ImpactREC.

The partnership aims to benefit more than 25,000 families in low-to-moderate income communities, with an initial focus on projects in an area stretching from New Jersey to Ohio. It also includes the launch of a $12 million community impact fund focused on initiatives to reduce energy poverty in the communities where the projects are to be built.

According to Sana Ouji, energy lead at Google, the 500 MW partnership and associated climate justice program aims to both drive a more equitable clean energy transition and boosts the tech giant's efforts to meet its "24/7 carbon-free energy goal."

Richard Dovere, chief investment officer of EDP Renewables North America Distributed Generation, said the partnership paves the way for the creation of a new, corporate-led, market segment focused on breaking down the typical barriers associated with the rapid, distributed and equitable decarbonization of the energy system.

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