Wind, solar power soaring in spite of bargain prices for fossil fuels via The Washington Post

Wind and solar power appear set for a record-breaking year in 2016 as a clean-energy construction boom gains momentum in spite of a global glut of cheap fossil fuels.

Installations of wind turbines and solar panels soared in 2015 as utility companies went on a worldwide building binge, taking advantage of falling prices for clean technology as well as an improving regulatory and investment climate. Both industries have seen stock prices jump since Congress approved an extension of tax credits for renewables as part of last month’s $1.14 trillion budget deal.

Orders for 2016 solar and wind installations are up sharply, from the United States to China to the developing economies of Africa and Latin America, all in defiance of stubbornly low prices for coal and natural gas, the industry’s chief competitors.
While solar and wind power have been expanding in the United States for years because of steadily falling costs, decisions by Congress and the White House in 2015 have set the stage for continued growth, Reicher and other energy experts say.

These decisions include last month’s extension of the production tax credit, which encourages investments in solar and wind through 2019, as well as the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, a regulation adopted in August that requires states to reduce emissions from power plants. Clean-energy companies also received an important boost from last month’s climate accord in Paris, where more than 190 countries approved a plan to reduce pollution from fossil-fuel burning worldwide.

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