Corporate appetite for clean energy contributed to the exponential development of solar energy and led to new procurement technologies such as shaped Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) that balance energy requirements with renewable energy production.

FREMONT, CA: The year 2020 has brought more than its share of uncertainties, but it has also brought promising strides toward a safer, healthier, more sustainable energy infrastructure. With divergent opinions on the referendum, many people wonder how the outcome of the U.S. election could impact renewable energy issues in the new year. Below is an assessment of this year’s key energy trends and what they mean for decision-makers heading into 2021 and beyond.

Development is inevitable. Perhaps the most crucial policy change of this year, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Order 2222, originated from a Republican-led department under a conservative government. The order paves the means for Distributed Energy Resources (DERs), such as solar PV and energy storage, to compete in wholesale energy markets. The reasoning here has nothing to do with politics and more to do with economics: these tools have incentives, and the exclusion of them reduces competition and increases costs. One should not need to lean strategically to profit from this decision, which would create savings and market growth for customers and companies around the board. It is just not a partisan problem.

The year 2020 has also proven that transition will come rapidly. California also expects all new passenger cars and trucks, and more than half of medium-and heavy-duty vehicles, to be free of emissions by 2035. Starting now, this will catalyze significant improvements in the Electric Vehicle (EV) infrastructure to allow interim goals beginning in 2024. Meanwhile, Virginia passed sweeping laws demanding 100 percent zero-carbon energy by 2050, joining half a dozen other states with similar goals. If this can happen overnight in Virginia, a state where barriers to renewable energy have been extensive, then it can happen everywhere. Arizona looks to achieve its own 100 percent goal, and there is no question that other states will follow suit.

The policy aims to push economies, but industry demands will still outpace grid infrastructure and the regulatory environment. Corporate appetite for clean energy contributed to the exponential development of solar energy and led to new procurement technologies such as shaped Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) that balance energy requirements with renewable energy production. For trucking and logistics firms, compliance with California’s EV order would mean designing new plans for charging facilities and fleet maintenance well within the span of the leases that they are signed today.

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