Report: Solar Energy Cheap As Natural Gas By 2025

September 01, 2013

solar power A solar power KJZZ file photo. (Photo courtesy of KJZZ File Footage)

By Courtney Flatt and KJZZ News

A new Department of Energy study predicts Arizona will use more energy per capita than any other western state by 2025. The study also says that among western states in 2011, Arizona produced the smallest amount of renewable energy as a share of its total generation.

New solar projects will significantly increase that share, and the report says renewable energy is getting cheaper. If the cost of wind and solar power continues to drop, it could be just as affordable as natural gas by 2025. 

All this is from Denver’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Study author David Hurlbut said each western state could use a different mix of renewable power and natural gas, “so that it provides the best hedge against volatile gas prices, the best emission reductions, the least impact to wildlife, and at the same time maintains system reliability.”

The study looked at the best sources of renewable energy for different areas in the West. It found in 2025, the Pacific Northwest and California could get wind power from Wyoming and Montana. Idaho could develop more geothermal power.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Courtney Flatt reports for Earth Fix, a public-radio collaborative based in the Pacific Northwest.