Renewable energy is growing rapidly in the U.S., with wind and solar industries enjoying double-digit growth each year. Partly, it comes from more homeowners choosing to install solar panels economically with government subsidies. But the price of one fossil fuel — natural gas — has declined so much recently that solar panels are having difficulty competing, reports Jeff Brady at National Public Radio. That’s because production is way up, thanks to hydraulic fracturing. Fracking, as it’s called, is a controversial drilling technology that some say harms the environment. The process allows extraction of oil and gas, once thought to be trapped too deep underground. Thus, there’s been a nearly 30 percent increase in the amount of natural gas produced in the U.S. since 2005. Nonetheless, the cheap price of natural gas does not reflect the real environmental price that burning this fossil fuel does to our planet, in terms of disastrous climate change and unhealthy air pollution. Richard Caperton, director of clean energy investment at the Center for American Progress, notes that the rise of natural gas also distracts investment in developing what’s really needed – cheap, clean renewable energy sources.
Solar panels in new competition with cheap natural gas. Renewable energy is growing rapidly in the U.S., with wind and solar industries enjoying double-digit growth each year. In recent years, the price of one fossil fuel — natural gas — has declined so much that solar panels are having difficulty competing. All Things Considered