Oct. 4 (UPI) -- Amid the pushback on Washington's efforts to back coal and nuclear power, a report from low-carbon advocates found clean energy has organic momentum.
An annual report from the Natural Resources Defense Council said some components of the renewable energy sector have accelerated faster than the government estimated. Wind power capacity, for example, was 350 percent above a government forecast from 10 years ago.
"Dozens of clean energy records have been shattered across the United States in the last year and a half," Ralph Cavanagh, co-director of NRDC's energy program, said in a statement. "And despite some new political headwinds, ever-improving economics will propel the clean energy transition in the years to come."
President Donald Trump and his energy secretary, Rick Perry, have lined up behind coal and nuclear supplies as "fuel-secure" resources for the nation's power grid. That effort has been met with criticism from unusual allies.
Testifying before the House Energy and Commerce Committee this week, Marty Durbin, the chief strategy officer for the American Petroleum Institute, said grid reliability is linked to different attributes for generation, not fuel sources alone. While leaning in favor of natural gas as a clean alternative, Durbin said the nation's grid is supported by its flexibility.
"There is no question ... that the bulk power system will continue to rely on multiple fuels, including natural gas, nuclear, coal, hydro, wind and solar, as projected by the Energy Information Administration," he said in his prepared remarks.
API is a trade group that supports the oil and natural gas sector and argued additional regulation was not the answer.
In remarks this week, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said his department was committed to a "one in, two out" executive order on deregulation, arguing federal agencies invest too much time on new regulations instead of taking account for what's already on the books.
On the grid, the NRDC said renewable energy made up 14 percent of all U.S. electricity sales last year. Wind and solar by themselves accounted for around 10 percent of all monthly electricity generation. In September, the Energy Department said a solar power initiative enacted by former President Barack Obama reached a goal for cost competitiveness three years early.