With Oregon’s recent commitment to go 100 percent, a road that was previously less traveled is seeing a lot of traffic.The state is now the eighth to set an important goal, transitioning to 100 percent clean electricity by 2040. But while we celebrate this clean energy victory, we know that it can’t be the last. To achieve the vision of a society powered by 100 percent renewables, we’ll need many more states to follow in Oregon’s ambitious footsteps.
Oregon’s clean energy bill, signed into law by Gov. Kate Brown this summer, requires energy companies to provide 100 percent clean electricity to their customers by 2040. The only other state so far to match this timeline is New York. We are thrilled by the motivation shown by state leaders in Oregon, and invite others across the nation to join Oregon and New York in taking up this torch — powered by renewables, obviously — by setting their own ambitious commitments to reach the clean and renewable future we need.
Without a doubt, we’ve made tremendous progress in the past six years. Before 2015, not a single state had committed to achieving 100 percent clean energy. Now, thanks in part to the organizing and advocacy efforts of Environment America’s national network, we have eight.
This progress is a reminder that when we aim high, we succeed. An inspiring element of human nature is that once we’ve reached one peak we turn onwards and upwards for even greater summits. Our 100 percent renewable energy campaign is based on this premise: That by winning commitments one state at a time, it leads to more and more leaders looking to strive for more robust plans that will result in a world where clean renewable energy is no longer a revolutionary idea, but the standard for our entire country.
To do this, we need 100 percent state commitments with concrete, swift timelines. There is a clear reason for our urgency: Climate change is ramping up, wreaking havoc on our rapidly warming planet. This threat facing our world requires new solutions to the ways we generate and use up energy. Thankfully, we have the technologies and the know-how to transform our energy system. We now need to move rapidly in the right direction. As a result, we are campaigning for 100 percent commitments in states across the country and know others will join. Quite frankly, we can’t wait to see which state will be next.
Will it be New Jersey? The Garden State’s moves to promote offshore wind growth caught everyone’s attention this past year. Or perhaps it’ll be North Carolina? According to our We Have the Power report, the Tar Heel State’s solar potential could generate 33 times its current electricity demand.
We don’t know yet. But what we do know is that our country needs to adopt clean, renewable energy over their polluting fossil fuel counterparts if we are going to secure and preserve a liveable climate. Our Renewables on the Rise report shows we are already moving in the right direction. In 2001, America got as little as one half of one percent of its electricity from wind, solar and geothermal energy. Today, more than 10 percent of America’s electricity comes from these sources. As the push to turn away from fossil fuels intensifies, renewable energy sources will continue to grow.
The states who are now a part of the 100 percent club — Hawaii, California, New Mexico, Maine, Washington, New York, Virginia and Oregon — have answered our call to go 100 percent with enthusiastic agreement, and are serious about promoting a pollution-free renewable energy future.
Check out our Road to 100 animation to see how clean energy commitments in the states have unfolded over the last half decade, and join us in placing our bets on which state will be next. There may be eight states down, but plenty more to go.