Renewable Energy Shortfalls

Renewable energy is all the big push these days and yet the sudden demand cannot be met thanks to poor planning and the ebb and flow of trends. Lacking the foresight in many states the demand for renewable energy is outstripping supply in turn racking up prices making the move for cheap alternative energy a growing obstacle. The result is that some states might not be able to meet the clean-energy mandates by the appointed deadline. The bull behind the shortage is the rapidly growing number of bandwagon states requiring utilities to house clean energy in their power mix, not to mention the surge in demand from big business and homeowners alike.
The National Energy Renewable Lab reported recently that clean-energy demand will outpace generation by at least 37% come the year 2010. The laws in 25 states dictate that clean energy – such as wind, biomass and solar – must constitute up to 30% of a utility’s energy portfolio in five to 15 years. In addition to this, awareness and trends have led consumers and businesses to boost clean-energy purchases by 46% a year since 2003. Much of this is fueled by corporations, which have increased green purchases by 25 fold since 2001. Is it really any surprise that demand has grown faster than anyone expected? Who wouldn’t want to save the planet, have cheap and renewable energy available to them? The blame is not meant to lie on the shoulders of any one group or government; this is the nature of the teetering supply and demand game that our economy thrives on. Why plan ahead like many intelligent foreign countries when we can just wing-it on our sheer American action-reaction attitude?

Thanks to this demand and shortage the prices for green energy is rising rapidly, thwarting the progression. In the Northeast, Plain states and Mid-Atlantic renewable energy prices have doubled in the past couple of years so says green-energy marketers Green Mountain Energy and 3Degrees, also claimed by the broker, Evolution Markets.For example, in the Mid-Atlantic, wind price increases pushed the average monthly premium on utility bills to $10.50 from $6.30 for green-energy consumers.
New Engalnd is facing a gap of 1,500 megawatts – power for 1.1 million homes – between the green-energy resources and the need to meet standards by the year 2015. It will have to lean on imports from Canada and there are not adequate transmission lines in place to do so. These shortages could keep the utilities from meeting state mandates resulting in hefty penalties and costing the consumers far more than neccessary in the end. If this trend continues, renewable certificates for customers in some areas may become unavailable or too costly to consider. With this demand it is likely that the supply will speed up in order to meet it as always. Though time is not on people’s side, construction is lagging years behind as it is. I will be reporting on the compainies and savvy businessmen that have a plan to tackle this problem shortly, look for it to follow in a few days.

Nick Aster is a new media architect and the founder of has grown to become one of the web's leading sources of news and ideas on how business can be used to make the world a better place.

Prior to TriplePundit Nick worked for Mother Jones magazine, successfully re-launching the magazine's online presence. He worked for, managing the technical side of the publication for 3 years and has also been an active consultant for individuals and companies entering the world of micro-publishing. He earned his stripes working for Gawker Media and Moreover Technologies in the early days of blogging.

Nick holds an MBA in sustainable management from the Presidio School of Management and graduated with a BA in History from Washington University in St. Louis.

Leave a Reply