The future of renewable energy is bright and 2016 will be a monumental year for the growth of new technologies and the education of the general public. But with such a large amount of information circulating online, it’s important that we reevaluate where we are and set the record straight on what is expected in 2016.
1) Wind Energy Will Continue to Grow Quickly
The growth of wind energy and related technology will be tremendous in 2016. From small countries in the east to large, westernized countries, look for everyone to begin investing more resources into expanding their wind markets.
China, which has always been considered the leader in wind power, has a capacity of more than 114,763 Megawatts, which accounts for roughly 31 percent of the global total. Look for China to continue expanding their own market, but don’t expect other countries to stand idle. China actually installed 45 percent of capacity in 2014, so other countries can quickly catch up by scaling their own efforts – and they will.
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In the U.S., where we boasted a wind power capacity of 65,879 as of last count, the growth rate has averaged more than 25 percent per year for the past decade. In 2016, look for that steady growth rate to continue as new technologies come down the pipeline.
For example, businesses are now relying on energy efficient technology to remain profitable and establish positive relationships with consumers. In pursuit of this, many businesses are investing in data centers that are 100 percent wind powered. In fact, Facebook just announced its plans to build a $1 billion data center in Ft. Worth, Texas, that will be powered by wind. Look for more projects like this to push the U.S. wind market forward.
2) Oil and Gas Prices to Remain Low
Good news for consumers: Oil and gas prices will remain low for the foreseeable future. However, what’s good news for you is bad news for the shale gas industry in the U.S. and the oil industry in Saudi Arabia. The question experts are asking is whether Saudi Arabia can keep production high and prices low for an extended period of time – or at least long enough to bankrupt the American shale industry.
It’s possible the answer to this issue will come at some point in 2016. Experts are suggesting it will be the Saudis that buckle first. This prediction is rooted in the fact that the U.S. can sustain low oil prices for longer than Saudi Arabia. However, oil and gas companies participate in a fickle sector and small movements can cause dramatic reverberations. Keep an eye on oil and gas prices as we move through the year.
3) Out with the Hybrids, in with Electric Vehicles
It appears that we’ve finally reached the point in the marketplace where mass adoption of electric vehicles is possible. With the infrastructure being developed and prices hitting comfortable points thanks to the falling cost of batteries, look for electric cars to become the hot new buy of 2016.
As electric vehicle sales increase, expect hybrid sales to subsequently fall. However, it’s entirely possible that we won’t see this prediction come to fruition until the last few months of the year. If gas prices stay low at the pump, fringe customers who are more interested in electric vehicles for the money-saving advantages (as opposed to the eco-friendly mindset), will continue driving standard vehicles.
2016: a Monumental Year for Renewable Energy
In 2016, we’ll see a number of significant changes and developments in the renewable energy sector. From the growth of wind energy technology to the surge in electric vehicles, exciting things are on the horizon. Stay tuned!