Clean, renewable energy: It’s not just a ‘blue state’ thing

So-called 'red' and 'blue' states may seem as divided from each other as ever, but all 50 states have one important thing in common: Renewable energy is on the rise in all of them.

Clean energy

AltaSea | Used by permission
New rooftop solar installation at AltaSea’s warehouse.
So-called “red” and “blue” states may seem as divided from each other as ever, but all 50 states have one important thing in common: Renewable energy is on the rise in all of them.

That’s the key takeaway from Renewables On the Rise 2023, Environment America Research & Policy Center and Frontier Group’s updated dashboard tracking progress in the states toward a 100% clean, renewable future.

States spanning the political spectrum shared space atop our rankings:

  • California, Florida and Texas lead the pack when it came to electric vehicle sales in 2022;
  • California, Texas, Florida, North Carolina and Arizona saw the most solar power and battery storage growth from 2013 to 2022;
  • Five of the 10 fastest-growing solar states in percentage terms are located in the Southeast, including South Carolina, Virginia and Alabama; and
  • Texas, Iowa, Oklahoma and Kansas topped the charts for wind power growth in 2022.

Some red states continue to reap the benefits of smart choices at the state level, including in Texas, the nation’s leading wind power producer, even though the bedrock policies largely responsible for Texas’ success have come under recent attack.

As Environment Texas Director Luke Metzger said after Texas’ most recent legislative session, “The incredible growth of solar and wind energy and battery storage in Texas is one of the climate movement’s great success stories…and despite over a dozen bills filed to add crippling new fees and permitting requirements to renewable energy or even to outright ban it, the 2023 Legislature ended with the worst measures having failed to pass.”

Even in red states that haven’t built the policy infrastructure to maximize their renewable potential, renewables are still on the rise, due largely to a mix of actions at the city, county and campus levels as well as ripple effects from actions taken by neighboring states, corporations, the federal government, and the global community working together.

Georgia is one such non-blue state that has seen opposition to renewables at the state level, but Environment Georgia’s Solarize campaigns and 100% clean energy cities and counties work have led to tangible progress. In 2022, Georgia generated 69 times as much solar power as it did in 2013, enough to power 693,356 typical homes.

From Athens and Savannah to Gwinnett and Forsyth Counties, Environment Georgia’s Solarize campaigns have helped educate homeowners about rooftop solar, made it easier for individuals to go solar via bulk purchasing programs, and built a stable of new advocates for clean energy.

Just as it’s possible for renewables to thrive in red states, so too is it possible to lose critical momentum in blue states. Twice this year, the California Public Utilities Commission gutted rooftop solar incentives, and the immediate consequences are alarming: a 77-85% decrease in rooftop solar projects since the first cuts went into effect, according to the California Solar and Storage Association.

California should know better and must do better. To ensure that renewables keep rising everywhere, we’ll keep putting in the work popularizing clean energy in red, blue and purple states and pursuing progress wherever it can be won.


Wendy Wendlandt

President, Environment America; Senior Vice President, The Public Interest Network

​​As president of Environment America, Wendy is a leading voice for the environment in the United States. She has been quoted in major national, state and local news outlets for nearly 40 years on issues ranging from air pollution to green investing. She is also a senior vice president with The Public Interest Network. She is a founding board member of Green Corps, the field school for environmental organizers, and Green Century Funds, the nation’s first family of fossil fuel free mutual funds. Wendy started with WashPIRG, where she led campaigns to create Washington state’s model toxic waste cleanup program and to stop the nation’s first high-level nuclear waste dump site. She is a 1983 graduate of Whitman College. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and dog and hikes wherever and whenever she can.

Find Out More