One of the focal points in developing a society that is less rooted in perpetuating climate change is the growth and sustainability of the renewable energy sector. In order for the United States to reach climate goals and to see tangible improvements in our environment, renewable energy has to be frequently utilized to decrease carbon emissions. With the expansion of federal subsidies and rapid investment, the renewable energy sector has been able to flourish. The Renewable Power Generation Cost 2018 report found that renewable power is the cheapest source of electricity in many parts of the world, with solar and wind energy prices continuing to decrease in the future. With current uncertainty regarding political measures to curb the impacts of climate change, having an economically vibrant renewable energy sector provides some much-needed stabilization. This decline in renewable energy prices is quantified by a report from the International Renewable Energy Agency that finds a decrease cost of electricity from solar plants by 69%. Following decades of nonrenewable energy market dominance, renewable energy has been able to break out of the constraints from the monopolization of fossil fuel-based corporations. Instead of being a mere blip of the radar of oil and coal companies, solar and wind energy has become extremely more appealing to investors with decreased costs and greater returns.
Throughout history, the idea that nonrenewable companies were on top has seemingly become reality. However, the United States Energy Information Administration found that electricity generation exceeded that of coal for the first time ever in April of 2019, with coal generation decreasing by 13 percent. This demonstrates how truly expansive the renewable energy sector has become, reversing the narrative that coal and oil corporations have the upper hand. This decline in cost and generation of renewable energy is extremely beneficial, as it brings a plethora of environmental benefits. Alongside a decrease in pollution, this trend in prices and growth of renewable energy has been able to cultivate new employment opportunities as well. Instead of being lured into funneling money into oil and coal, for the future of their industry, many corporations have placed the funding into the renewable energy sector. This ensures that moving forward, the sector can flourish without federal subsidies. It has truly grown into a healthy, stable market that is unwavering in its development. This is a welcome sight, as our climate proceeds to become increasingly more vulnerable. However, despite the fact that the sector has flourished and is more expensive, there is more policy that needs to be enacted. Moving forward, since we do not need to focus on federally subsidizing renewable energy because of its sustainability we can look at other aspects of the environment that need to be addressed. Simply enforcing renewable energy policies is not effective unless we also focus not only on mitigation but also on decreasing the root cause of the problem. Our nation needs to come together across party lines to recognize the new developments of the renewable energy sector and to place our funds in programs that will further decrease the presence of climate change. Not to reduce emissions as a formality, but to do so because it helps build the future that upcoming generations deserve.
Susan Rossano is a high school junior at Nova High School in Davie, FL.