Will US Give Up Great Gains Made on Renewable Energy?

Under President Obama, the US has become a world leader on clean energy (say goodbye to this if Trump is elected).

Amazing gains on wind, solar, LED lighting and electric vehicles have all taken place since he took office in 2008.

23 states now use renewable electricity as a primary energy source, says the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Revolution Now, Accelerating Clean Energy, an annual report on this progress from the Department of Energy (DOE), shows how much costs have dropped since 2008 – 94% for LEDs; 73% for batteries; 54% for distributed solar PV; 64% for large-scale solar; and 41% for land-based wind energy.

Last year, over two thirds of new US electric power came from wind and solar PV. Read the FAQ.

Energy-Cost-Drops (1)
Offshore Wind

The first (tiny) offshore wind farm in the US is built! off the coast of Rhode Island.

As of 2015, the Interior Department has auctioned 14.6 gigawatts-worth of offshore leases on the east coast. A major 194-turbine farm is moving forward for NYC and many others are in the early stages of development.

Earlier this month, DOE released a National Offshore Wind Strategy, with a goal of producing 86 gigawatts – enough electricity for 23 million homes. Offshore wind farms would serve population centers along our Atlantic and Pacific coasts, the Great Lakes and Hawaii.

Over the next five years, DOE and Interior will support development of improved turbine designs, siting and safety guidelines, and facilitate cooperation among federal agencies to accelerate the process.

Leading Cities

Over the summer, Salt Lake City formally committed to reach 100% renewable energy by 2032 and to cut carbon emissions 80% by 2040 under Climate Positive 2040.

It joins a dozen cities with a 100% commitment, including San Diego (by 2035) and San Francisco (by 2020). Sierra Club’s “Ready for 100” campaign plans to sign 50 cities up by the end of this year.

Going Forward

In 12 years, batteries that store energy at utility scale will be as widespread as solar panels are now, revolutionizing the way people use energy, says Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

And in 15 years, renewables (including hydro) will overtake fracked gas, becoming the dominant energy source in the US!, they project.

This transition to a clean energy economy will drive economic growth for decades, create well-paying jobs and increasing household incomes, concludes NextGen Climate America’s report, “Economic Analysis of U.S. Decarbonization Pathways.”

If we really want to bring manufacturing back to the US, this is the way to do it. Homegrown companies will produce the parts, equipment, and products for deep decarbonization technologies.

By investing in clean energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the report shows that over 1 million jobs would be created by 2030 and nearly 2 million by 2050.

It would be the saddest thing I can think of for us to turn back the clock by electing a president and congress so stuck in the fossil past.

Read our article, Knock, Knock, Are You Aware the US Can Run on 100% Renewable Energy?

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