By majorities of up to four to one, more than 600 U.S. utilities responding to a recent survey predict more renewable energy and energy storage in their countries’ future, with coal declining “significantly” or “moderately” as a fuel.
Just 4% expressed any confidence in the Trump administration’s promise of a comeback for coal, Utility Dive reports, based on interviews conducted early in 2017.
Utilities clearly “expect to source more power from renewables, distributed resources, and natural gas in the coming years, while coal continues to decline,” the industry news outlet notes.
Distributed energy resources led the list of assets the executives expected to expand “significantly” or “moderately” over the next decade—cited by a combined 83% of those surveyed. The category was also judged to be the sector’s biggest growth opportunity in a previous survey in 2015.
Distributed energy barely edged out utility-scale solar generation, which 82% of executives predicted would grow significantly or moderately. Significant majorities of 78% and 71% saw the same degree of growth for grid-scale energy storage and wind generation, respectively.
Slightly fewer than two-thirds of the utility executives polled, 64%, saw the same expansion ahead for natural gas. Only 8% felt the same way about nuclear power. And fully 79% predicted that coal’s market share would slip further, at least moderately.
Three-quarters of the survey respondents favoured some form of carbon emissions policy. The leading impediments they cited for the sector’s failure to evolve more quickly toward clean energy included the financial challenges of stranded assets, and regulatory resistance—both clocking in at three times the rate of complaint prompted by “federal emission and environmental regulations.”