And just as the sun rises above every state, so too are states of all political hues — red, blue and purple — rising to capture more of the energy they need from renewable sources.
That’s the conclusion of a report released in July by Environment America Research & Policy Center and Frontier Group, detailing a decade of gains for clean, renewable energy across the nation. The report found that the United States now generates nearly eight times as much electricity from the sun and the wind than it did in 2007, while the average American uses 10% less energy than they did a decade ago.
Among the other highlights in the report:
- Solar energy has grown 43-fold in the last ten years, enough to power more than 5 million American homes.
- Wind energy has grown seven-fold since 2007, and now accounts for more than 5 percent of America’s power.
- Annual sales of electric vehicles have grown from virtually none in 2007 to nearly 160,000 in 2016.
The report earned media coverage from many outlets, including a report from CBS News. That piece explored the report’s findings that the states leading the nation in generating renewable energy are not the usual liberal enclaves. North Dakota, Iowa and Oklahoma each generate more than a third of their electricity from wind and solar, while Wyoming and South Dakota each generate more than a quarter of their electricity from renewables. Texas alone now produces more wind energy than most countries.
“Key clean energy technologies are improving rapidly and getting cheaper nearly every day,” said Gideon Weissman of Frontier Group, a co-author of the report. “These and other advances open up new opportunities to end our dependence on fossil fuels and embrace a future built on clean, renewable energy.”
“Given the environmental benefits, clean, renewable energy should be the go-to option for more businesses, utilities, governments and households across the country,” said Rob Sargent, energy program director for Environment America Research and Policy Center. “Every day the urgency of our environmental challenges becomes clearer. That’s why we’re ready to work to move America to a future powered with clean, renewable energy.”
The Public Interest Network’s affiliates are advancing policies to promote clean, renewable energy in cities and states across the country.
Environment California supported the state’s efforts to renew its cap-and-trade program, which will help California fulfill its commitment of reducing global warming pollution 40% by 2030. Environment California is also supporting bills that would put California on a path to 100% renewable electricity by 2045. Hawaii has already made this commitment, and Massachusetts is currently considering similar legislation. And, in Washington, D.C., bills to commit the nation to a goal of 100% renewable energy have been introduced in both houses of Congress.
Meanwhile, a growing number of cities, corporations and institutions are also committing to 100% renewable energy. Currently, 37 cities have done so. Nearly 100 major companies, including Apple, Walmart and LEGO have as well.
America’s institutions of higher education are also playing a crucial role in the race to prevent the worst impacts of global warming. This year, Frontier Group and Environment America Research & Policy Center released “Renewable Energy 100: The Course to a Carbon-Free Campus,” examining the ways in which college and university campuses are ideal places to lead America’s drive toward 100% renewable energy.
Over the past few decades, our network’s research, advocacy and action have led 22 states to adopt standards and other policies that fostered the growth of renewable power.