Corporate Solar Purchasers in the Southeast: A Growing Major Market

More than ever before, corporations throughout the world are powering their businesses with renewable energy. According to Power Forward 3.0, nearly half of the companies in the 2016 Fortune 500 have set targets to reduce greenhouse gases (GHG), improve energy efficiency, and/or increase renewable energy sourcing—this stat is up five percentage points from 2014. Pushed by social and economic forces, this upwards trend is expected to continue. After a huge bump in 2015, when the Federal ITC was originally scheduled to expire, demand levels of corporate solar capacity have returned to a more incremental rate of increase, with June 2017 numbers already close to 2016’s year end total.

Are We Understating the Potential for (and Uncertainty in) Wind Energy Cost Reductions?

The single most-significant difference came from the so-called ‘leading experts’: a hand-selected group of 22 individuals who are among the wind sector’s most knowledgeable and senior leaders. Those experts were, on average, even more optimistic about wind energy cost reduction, expecting LCOE to decline by 27% by 2030 and 48% by 2050 in the median scenario, and by 57% and 66% in the low scenario (Figure 4). The views of this group suggest even greater potential for cost reduction than noted earlier.

Is TVA Undervaluing Wind Energy?

TVA recently released its Draft Integrated Resource Plan (IRP). An IRP is a planning exercise to determine utility power plant needs 20 years into the future. The exercise depends on inputs (such as cost and performance data for various power plant types, including wind farms) to develop outputs and recommendations. Some of TVA’s most important inputs for wind power are a bit opaque – especially cost and performance data. But based on the IRP outputs, it appears that the inputs for wind energy are stuck in TVA’s wind energy glory days and are about a decade out of date.