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US power sector research from BNEF estimates record low carbon emissions in 2015

World Cement,

Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) has released a new white paper that provides an outlook on the US power sector to 2020. The research forecasts a record year for the sector in 2015 in terms of emissions reduction, de-carbonization and natural gas consumption. Key highlights for 2015 include:

  • Some 18 GW of renewable energy sources will come online. New solar installations are expected to total an annual all-time high at 9.1 GW. New wind power installations will also be high, at a forecast 8.9 GW.
  • Approximately 7% of US coal capacity (23 GW) is likely to come offline this year. The forecast record level of coal retirements has been attributed to factors such as new mercury emissions standards and the low price of natural gas.
  • The US power sector is expected to burn more natural gas than it ever has before.
  • According to the report, as a result of the above CO2 emissions from the power sector will fall to their lowest levels since 1994, some 15.4% lower than 2005 emissions levels.

“More interesting than the single-year drop in emissions are the ‘structural’ impacts that will live on for decades,” says William Nelson, Head of North American Analysis. “Emissions can rise or fall year-to-year based on weather anomalies and volatile fuel prices – but in 2015, we’ll take a giant, permanent step towards de-carbonizing our entire fleet of power plants.”

“De-carbonization will continue post-2015,” adds Nelson. “But at a slower pace. We may never again see 23 GW of coal capacity retire in a single year; and renewable build could drop significantly in 2017, when important federal tax incentives step down or expire”

The white paper from BNEF can be found here.

Adapted from press release by

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