Clean energy is simply energy that provides power without also creating greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) or air pollution. Wind, solar, biofuels, geothermal and hydropower are all examples of clean energy, while coal, oil and natural gas are – in laymen’s terms – “dirty.” In spite of the recent drop in oil prices, clean energy will continue to grow at a breakneck pace in 2015.
Regular readers of Earth911 know that deploying clean energy is crucial to:
- stem climate change, by vastly reducing the amount of GHGs pumped into the atmosphere.
- save money on energy bills and avoid the sudden price spikes that can occur with fossil fuels.
- improve health, by eliminating the pollutants like mercury, arsenic and lead that waft out of power plant smokestacks.
5 Key Trends
There’s far more going on in clean energy than can be covered here. But according to the experts, here are 5 key trends in clean energy to watch for in 2015:
- Renewables will keep breaking records for expanding installations and falling prices. As areas like the European Union achieve their climate targets early, overall emissions from all energy sources should fall, after remaining flat for the first time in 2014.
- Batteries will follow a similar course to renewables, with costs falling rapidly while power output and battery life improve.
- Consumers will increasingly press for clean energy options – not to save polar bears, but to save money. Grid parity is just on the horizon.
- Financing options will expand. According to Sustainable Business, investment in clean energy bounced back in 2014 to over $300 billion. Whether you are an individual investor who wants to buy a green bond for $25, or a big company like Google that just chose to add $300 million to their investment in SolarCity, there are many ways to reap the financial rewards of a clean energy economy.
- Coal plants will continue to close – and not have to be replaced. The improvements made in the energy efficiency of buildings, appliances and lighting over the years have reduced U.S. electricity demand overall.
And one more thing…
You’ll be hearing a lot about clean energy in 2015 because the Paris climate talks are scheduled for December 2015. These international talks aim to reach agreement on climate targets globally – with all the verification, technology transfer and reporting that may entail.
Reap the benefits of clean energy yourself
You don’t have to just watch these trends – you can become a part of them. Whether you decide to invest in a green bond, buy an electric car, or go to work for a company that builds wind turbines, you have the opportunity to speed the transition to a clean energy future – with all the rewards that entails.
Feature image courtesy of Peter Nijenhuis