In his final State of the Union address, President Obama declared, unsurprisingly, that the state of the union is strong. We will let the other politicos and pundits debate what that means in terms of defense, education, and other national concerns, and stick to what we know: The state of advanced energy in the U.S. is strong… and growing.
Take it from AEE’s CEO, Graham Richard. “We can say that the state of advanced energy is strong,” he said, shortly before the President’s speech. “The global advanced energy market was $1.3 trillion in 2014, as big as the worldwide clothing market, and $200 billion in the U.S., which is equal to pharmaceuticals. Both advanced energy markets are growing at double-digit rates.”
As Julia Pyper, writing for Greentech Media, pointed out, the advanced energy sector has boomed over the past seven years. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (known as ARRA) put “serious dollars” into advanced energy, Malcolm Woolf, AEE’s SVP of policy and government affairs, said to Pyper. As Maryland’s top energy official and chair of the National Association of State Energy Officers at the time, Woolf testified at hearings on the ARRA legislation.
Since then, technologies like solar and wind have moved toward price parity with traditional energy sources, and electric vehicles are no longer the stuff of fantasy. Add that to a fleet technologies that are already cost leaders from combined heat and power to combined cycle natural gas, and energy efficiency, and that makes these technologies less vulnerable to the winds of politics.
“We’re fairly optimistic [going forward], regardless of the result of the presidential election, because we see the technologies being economically competitive in their own right,” said Woolf.
Now, there is a new catalogue of the technologies that are changing the U.S. energy system. Released just this week, This Is Advanced Energy profiles 52 distinct technologies and services that make up advanced energy today: how they work, how they are currently deployed, and how they are changing our energy system. Across the country, these technologies are being used to lower costs for consumers, improve reliability and resilience, offer more customer choice and control, and increase market competition. On top of that, the headlines provide more reasons for advanced energy to grow.
“Between the Paris agreements, the Clean Power Plan, and the market certainty provided by some of the tax credits extended by Congress, advanced energy will continue to grow, in the U.S. and around the world,” Richard said. “We are on the way toward a prosperous world running on secure, clean, affordable energy.”