Since the advent of electricity, the coal industry has been a cornerstone of American economy. Coal has employed countless white and blue collar workers, from miners to coal corporation executives. In the past decade, however, the number of jobs available in the coal industry has plummeted, largely due to the search for clean, green power as a result of the environmental movement. As public awareness as spread not only on the perilous health risks presented to coal miners, but, more importantly, on the catastrophic environmental effects of relying on coal for power. Not only does the mining process cause irreparable damage and destruction to local ecosystems, but the pollution caused from burning coal creates widespread public health risks.
In light of all of these factors, developed societies across the world have been looking for cleaner alternatives to power. Wind and solar power are the forerunners. However, many Americans who have associated electricity with coal since the advent of the light bulb, and have growing concerns about the impact the withering coal industry is having on the economy and work force. These people may be wondering, “Is renewable energy really here to stay?”
The answer, coming from leading experts, is a resounding “Yes!” While coal, and it’s dirty-energy counterpart, natural gas, are integrated into the nation’s infrastructure in such a vital way that they won’t be fully dissipating anytime soon, there is growing evidence that shows renewable alternatives taking ground. In addition to wind, and solar, renewable energy alternatives include hydropower, biomass, and geothermal. In the economic sector, 2017 found coal stock prices lodged in place while leading renewable energy corporation stocks soared to record highs. The Environmental Protection Agency found that renewable energy sources now constitute 14.9% of the nation’s total energy, a figure that would have been inconceivable even a few decades ago.
You can expect that these trends will only strengthen. As renewable technologies continue to develop and gain popularity, their prices will continue to drop, which will pose even greater competition to traditional energy suppliers. Experts at Morgan Stanley suggest that, as a result, more and more energy companies will look to include renewables in their offerings. In the coming years, we can expect to see renewable energies dominating more and more of the power market, not less. The American public is gaining knowledge on the environmental costs of coal and natural gas, and is demanding safe, clean, green, and reliable alternatives to build the best possible future.