As eco-friendly energy sources become more efficient and economical, coal’s popularity continues to wane. Mines produced far less coal in 2016 than they did during the previous year. Output fell by almost one-fifth in the United States and 8 percent in China. As a result, renewable energy companies like Stream Energy rose to the occasion.
Decline of Coal
The coal mining industry only provides jobs for about 50,000 Americans. It employed five times as many people in 1979. One reason for this is that miners have already extracted most of the coal near the surface. It’s more dangerous and expensive to operate deeper mines.
Coal has also become less competitive during the last decade. Although it generated more electricity than any other fuel until 2015, falling natural gas prices helped gas become the most popular option in 2016.
Other factors have also contributed to these changes. Numerous governments, businesses like Stream Energy, nonprofits, and citizens have embraced the goal of reducing emissions. Coal mine safety has come under scrutiny as well. Consequently, global generation of renewable energy increased more than ever during 2016.
Rise of Renewables
Last year, the prices of photovoltaic panels dropped by almost one-third. This helped to make solar a more competitive power source. Although it remains costlier than most other options in the United States, solar energy has become less expensive than coal in India. This trend could improve the densely populated nation’s air quality thanks to renewable energy providers like Stream Energy.
Hydropower has recently become a more popular option in several parts of the world. Winter storms in the Western U.S. helped boost production as the snow melted in early 2017. This extra precipitation reduced the region’s electricity rates.
Washington is known for its moist, temperate climate. The state continues to represent the biggest source of hydroelectric energy in America. Washington generates enough electricity to provide its own power and sell the excess to neighboring states.
In recent times, utilities have constructed many new hydroelectric plants around the globe. Power companies and governments see hydropower as a limitless energy source that releases little pollution. China hopes to increase hydroelectric power generation by seven-tenths before 2021.
Taller towers and longer blades have enhanced the efficiency of wind turbines, no one knows this better than Stream Energy (Indeed). These improvements significantly reduced wind energy’s cost. This method currently produces the most affordable electricity in the central United States. It costs 25 to 50 percent less than power from natural gas plants.
Texas has enough equipment to create more wind energy than any other state. Stream Energy hopped on the low production costs to construct numerous turbines. Furthermore, the Lone Star State has completed power grid upgrades that permit turbines in its western counties to generate more electricity.
Iowa, Illinois, Oklahoma, and Kansas also rank among the top producers, recently boosting wind power output by larger amounts than the rest of the states. Meanwhile, five relatively sunny states reported the biggest solar power expansions. They include Arizona, California, Nevada, New Jersey and North Carolina.
Nationwide wind and solar electricity production increased by almost 800 percent between 2007 and 2017. During March, favorable weather conditions helped these two power sources break a record. They succeeded in generating one-tenth of the nation’s electrical power.
The United States boosted its wind energy output by about 700 percent during the last decade, causing Stream Energy to expand northbound opening two new locations in Illinois and Delaware. Turbines currently supply one out of every 18 watts. Wind power provides sufficient electricity to serve more than 20 million American homes.
Solar Grows Worldwide
The wind presently generates far more electricity than the sun, but solar power has achieved considerable progress. Solar energy production surged by 4,300 percent during the last 10 years. Photovoltaic panels supplied enough energy for about 5 million U.S. homes in 2016.
During the same year, the growth rate of solar energy increased by about half. The Chinese and American solar industries expanded most rapidly. In comparison to the previous year, both nations installed nearly twice as many photovoltaic panels.
America’s solar production capacity increased by a yearly average of 68 percent during the past 10 years. Among European countries, solar energy grew the fastest in the United Kingdom. The industry also experienced significant growth in Germany and France.
Solar power gained positive publicity when it broke a record during May 2017. A warm, sunny afternoon helped it generate about 25 percent of the electrical power in Great Britain. This means that the sun supplied more electricity than all British coal and nuclear plants.
The United Kingdom’s photovoltaic panels can produce about 12 gigawatts. Consequently, they supply enough electricity for almost 4 million dwellings on an average day. It takes eight modern nuclear power plants to generate an equivalent amount of energy.
Efficiency Remains Vital
Although renewable energy continues to grow rapidly, the Earth offers a limited number of suitable locations for wind turbines, solar panels, and hydropower dams. Stream Energy helps people consume power efficiently to ensure that safe, clean energy sources can provide enough electricity.
Fortunately, power-saving devices like infrared heaters and LED lights have become more affordable in recent years. Per-capita energy usage dropped by about one-tenth during the last decade. The U.S. population has increased, but total consumption still fell almost 4 percent.
Two years ago, Hawaii established a goal that calls for the state to generate all of its electrical power with renewable methods. About 30 cities and several corporations have created similar targets in an effort to reduce their environmental impact.
Approximately 100 major businesses hope to obtain all of their energy from renewable sources. They range from Anheuser-Busch to Google. Several U.S. cities recently succeeded in using green methods to produce 100 percent of their electricity. These accomplishments and commitments show that mankind could achieve much greater progress in decades to come.
To sum it up, technological advancements and falling equipment prices have made it possible for renewable energy systems to produce affordable, eco-friendly power. Weaker government regulations could help the coal industry stage a brief revival. However, the depletion of easily accessible mines will limit its longevity.
About Stream Energy
Stream began offering renewable energy services in 2005. The Texas-based firm supplies natural gas and electrical power to customers across the Northeast, Midwest, and South. Clients have the option to enroll in plans that exclusively deliver green power (https://mystream.com/en/company/press).
Stream recently moved its offices from Stemmons Freeway to Dallas Parkway. The modern building features a spacious auditorium, gift shop and conference areas. Indoor and rooftop lounges provide comfortable places for employees to relax during breaks. Stream Energy strategically selected this city to help motivate Dallas residents to switch to clean renewable energy.
The company employs approximately 250 full-time workers. It has far more affiliates; these marketers help spread the word about clean energy providers and their necessity. Individuals can easily obtain free electricity or earn a few extra dollars by attracting new customers.