Every once in awhile, an innovative trend, company or idea comes along that disrupts the marketplace and revolutionizes an industry. Companies like Uber, Facebook and Airbnb turned their respective industries upside down and paved a new path. Clean and renewable energy sources are proving to be the disruptors in the energy industry.
Renewables have gained a great deal of popularity over the past 10 years because they provide numerous benefits for businesses, citizens and the economy. Renewable energy creates jobs, attracts large corporations, increases market competition, drives innovation and growth, and allows the United States to be independent from foreign energy sources.
Like with all market disruptors, the renewable energy sector has seen some pushback from other legacy players within the industry. The pushback comes from other entities on the market, just like innovative companies in various industries have experienced in the past. More competition is good for us, the consumers.
Let’s compare renewable energy to another popular market disruptor, Uber. Before Uber, taxis and limousines were the leaders in automotive transportation. Citizens looking for rides had to hope a taxi was in the area. Even more time-consuming, those looking for a limousine had to pay high rates and schedule a ride days, or weeks, in advance. On-demand rides were hard to find, especially in smaller cities that had virtually no taxi presence. Taxis and limousines had a monopoly on the transportation market.
Then, in 2009, the world got Uber. Drivers began popping up in cities across the country, making it easier for passengers to get from point A to point B with relatively no wait times. Sure, taxis and limousines still have their place in the market but the industry wasn’t efficient before. Uber changed that.
Clean and renewable energy is that disruptor in the energy industry. Traditional fossil fuels still have their place and play a role in our energy consumption, but renewable energy is the way of the present and the future. Job creation, industry growth and independence from foreign energy sources make our country and economy stronger.
That’s exactly what clean energy companies are doing with clean energy. Changing the way we use energy through innovative technologies. With the massive amount of research being conducted, these technologies are becoming incredibly cost-effective. Take solar energy, for example. Over the past 40 years, the price to procure one watt of energy dropped from $77.67 in 1977 to $0.61 today, a 99.21% price reduction.
Wind energy is the same way. According to a study by the investment banking firm Lazard, the cost of utility-scale wind energy is as low as 1.4 cents per kilowatt hour if energy subsidies are included, and 3.7 cents without subsidies. In comparison, natural gas comes in at 6.1 cents per kilowatt-hour and coal at 6.6 cents on the low end.
The best part is we’re still in the early stages of development. Through research on battery storage, we’re finding the most efficient ways to store and harness all the energy we’re procuring through these renewable sources.
Clean and renewable energy is receiving pushback from the oil industry, just as Uber received from the taxi industry. The pushback and criticism is expected, as it is with most innovative ways of thinking.
Looking at clean and renewable energy for what it is – a smart, efficient source to obtain energy that positively impacts our economy – will help advance these innovative technologies.
Renewable energy companies around the country are pushing the envelope and developing more cost-effective, efficient solutions to make the world’s energy consumption more diverse and effective.
Companies like Solar City, 1366 Technologies and Strata Solar are creating solar jobs and making clean energy available to homeowners, businesses, schools, non-profits and government organizations at a lower cost than they would normally pay. Cree is making extremely efficient lighting solutions that reduce our electricity bills. Yes Solar Solutions, located in Cary, NC, is helping the residential and commercial markets in the state go solar.
With technological innovation, industry attraction and a growing numbers of adopters, the future of clean energy looks bright.