Predictions 2017: 5 Takes on What the New Year Will Bring for Renewable Energy

Originally published on January 5, 2017 in UtilityDive

#5 State Policies Will Continue to Drive the Clean Energy Revolution by Sara Baldwin Auck

The solar sector compelled people to stand up and take notice in 2016. Following the federal tax credit extension for rooftop solar, and falling costs in the supply chain, the resource became competitive with natural gas and coal generation.

Investments in energy storage proliferated, and more states levied requirements for more renewable energy. But on the flip side, policies historically nurturing the resource have come under fire. Net metering, a billing mechanism for excess energy sent from rooftop solar arrays, and the Public Utility Regulatory Policy Act of 1978 are facing reform efforts from utilities across the nation.

Despite these obstacles, industry insiders remain optimistic that renewable energy will continue to grow. In December, Utility Dive solicited predictions from industry experts, including IREC’s Regulatory Program Director Sara Baldwin Auck, on trends impacting the power sector in 2017. The responses indicate that despite uncertainty in federal policymaking, insiders expect utility-scale solar and commercial demand to drive renewable energy growth in the coming year.

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Image: www.science20.com

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