NPR logo Report Dims The Lights For Solar

Report Dims The Lights For Solar

If you're looking for solar, it's way down at the bottom. Alan Cordova hide caption

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Alan Cordova

This spring, the Department of Energy updated the Annual Energy Outlook, which forecasts the prices and volumes of the energy we generate and consume, to reflect the provisions in the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. Over the next two decades, the outlook projects that two renewable sources, wind and biomass, will generate four and 13 times as much energy, respectively, as they currently do.

By 2030, according to the estimate, they will account for 44 percent of all renewable energy (hydropower will still be king at 48 percent). For all the buzz surrounding solar power — soon after taking office, President Obama made a visit to Denver-based Namaste Solar's field of photovoltaic generators — it is not predicted to make much of an impact. Note: the outlook does not include solar power systems not connected to an electrical grid, such as a rooftop installation in a remote mountain home. The DOE says those will never account for more than 16 percent of domestic energy consumption.

After the jump, what's winning big.

Coal, coal and more coal. Alan Cordova hide caption

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Alan Cordova

In a word, coal.

Check out the vertical axes on the two charts — there's a tenfold difference between the tick marks.

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