In June 2005, oil prices set new highs of $60 per barrel and were forecast to go higher. In only three years, oil prices would hit a new record high of $100 per barrel.
On August 8, 2005, President George W. Bush signed the bipartisan, Energy Policy Act of 2005. The new energy law was developed due to concerns over energy security, environmental quality and economic growth.
The Energy Policy Act provided $14.5 billion in tax incentives to encourage domestic energy production and efficiency. The tax incentives were provided for energy efficiency and conservation, renewable energy, oil and gas, coal and nuclear power.
The Energy Policy Act resulted in technology breakthroughs in the renewable energy sector, primarily in improved the operating efficiency and output capacity for wind turbines. The technology breakthroughs resulted in a dramatic cost for wind energy.
In August 2005, electricity in the United States was generated from coal (50.7%), nuclear energy (19.9%), natural gas (19.0%) and renewable energy (10.4%). As technology drove down the cost of renewable energy and natural gas, utilities began to abandon expensive coal-fueled and nuclear power.
In April 2019, electricity in the United States was generated from natural gas (47.77%), renewable energy (21.56%), coal (21.55%) and nuclear energy (8.95%). More importantly, greenhouse gases in the United Stated decreased 12.5% from 2005 to 2019.
The future for wind energy in the United States is bright. Currently, 24,000 MW of wind energy capacity is under construction onshore and along the eastern seaboard of the United States. The United States Energy Information Agency (EIA) forecasts that 11,000 MW of the wind energy under construction will come online by year-end 2019.
High oil prices and the Energy Policy Act of 2005 were the impetus for America’s current energy revolution. Today, utilities are moving from fossil fuels to renewable energy because of economics and concerns over global warming and climate change.
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