Wind Leads the Way in New US Electricity Generation Capacity

Wind pic

Wind
Image: zerohedge.com

Formerly a Shell executive, David Lawrence is an energy advisor and investor who brings focus to oil and natural gas solutions, as well as those involving renewables such as wind and solar power. David Lawrence has a wealth of experience working with Shell, large and small independent energy companies, investors including private equity and buy and sell side analysts, government and academia that informs his efforts to strategically position energy firms and service providers at the cusp of the energy transition, including emerging green energy markets, unconventional and conventional oil and gas plays around the world, the evolving role of natural gas and comparative energy scenario outlooks.

A Windpower Engineering and Development article from early 2019 highlighted wind capacity’s emergence as a driver of new electric generating capacity. As reported by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), electric power capacity that comes online this year will come primarily from renewables. With expected capacity additions totaling 23.7 GW for 2019, capacity retirements will amount to only 8.3 GW.

Among utility-scale capacity additions, wind power leads the way at 46 percent, with natural gas reaching 34 percent and solar photovoltaics, 18 percent. The two percent remaining comes from sources such as battery storage capacity and other renewables. Major coal retirements are expected to occur during the latter half of 2019, with Navajo, which has maintained Arizona operations since the 1970s, expected to retire its 4.5 GW capacity.

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US Carbon Emission Trends

David Lawrence, a Yale-educated PhD geologist, held executive roles at energy giant Shell for many years. Following his tenure at Shell, David Lawrence founded Lawrence Energy Group, an energy consulting firm that rigorously evaluates the energy transition and analyses carbon reduction trends and strategies.

Between 2005 and 2017, the amount of carbon dioxide emitted from energy consumption in the US declined by 758 million metric tons, a reduction of about 14 percent. In 2016, US carbon emissions were the lowest in 24 years. This decrease is attributed in large part to the shift of generating electricity with fuels derived from natural gas that are less carbon-intensive alternatives to petroleum and coal.

This trend may plateau in the next several years. US carbon emissions are projected to rise by just under 2 percent in 2018 and to remain steady for the foreseeable future. Nevertheless, the level of emissions estimated for 2019 will be 13 percent lower than those recorded in 2005. Notably, carbon emissions in the US continued to decline even during periods of slight economic growth over this period, in large part because of the increased role of natural gas as well as the significant rise of wind energy and solar in the electricity sector.

The Rise of Danish Wind Power

 

Danish Wind Power pic

Danish Wind Power
Image: windpower.org

The CEO of the energy advisory firm Lawrence Energy Group is also the firm’s founder, David Lawrence, a former energy executive of the Royal Dutch Shell Corporation. In his role as executive vice president of the exploration and commercial division, David Lawrence directed and managed Shell’s wind energy business.

The Scandinavian nation of Denmark is on track to meet its goal of generating 50 percent of its energy from renewable sources. In 2016, almost 44 percent of electricity consumed in the northern European nation came from wind power, setting a world record. In recent years, Denmark’s government has invested heavily in wind energy, spending over $30 million on test turbines alone in 2018.

Denmark’s focus on wind energy is not directly related to today’s concerns regarding nonrenewable energy sources. The world’s largest producer of wind turbines is a 110-year-old Danish manufacturer, and wind energy production has been subsidized by the Danish government since the early 1970’s.

As demand for renewable energy increases worldwide, the wind turbine market is projected to be an $80 billion industry by 2019. Based on this trend, Danish energy officials expect the wind industry to be self-sustaining in the near future.