July 20, 2018 Read More →

Report highlights spread of renewable energy across U.S.

Greentech Media:

It was 1997, and stakeholders were working hard to help craft the first renewable energy standard in the State of Massachusetts, which ultimately passed as part of an electric utility restructuring act. At that time, the notion that Massachusetts would be one of the top solar states in the country was almost laughable, recalls Rob Sargent, who currently leads the energy program at Environment America. Today, renewable energy is taking off in virtually every state in the nation.

A new report and interactive map released this week by Environment America takes stock of U.S. clean energy progress to date. It finds that leadership is no longer concentrated in select parts of the country, but that it is distributed across states with varying economic and democratic makeups.

The Renewables on the Rise report highlights how much has changed in a relatively short period of time, which can be easy to forget. Today, the U.S. produces nearly six times as much renewable electricity from the sun and the wind as it did in 2008, and nine states now get more than 20 percent of their electricity from renewables.

Last year, the U.S. produced a record amount of solar power, generating 39 times more solar power than a decade ago. In 2008, solar produced 0.05 percent of electricity in the U.S. But by the end of 2017, solar generation reached more than 2 percent of the electricity mix — enough to power 7 million average American homes.

Wind has also seen dramatic growth over the last decade. From 2008 through 2017, American wind energy generation grew nearly fivefold. Last year, wind turbines produced 6.9 percent of America’s electricity, enough to power nearly 24 million homes. And the forecast shows even more growth as America’s offshore wind industry begins to take off.

Meanwhile, the average American uses nearly 8 percent less energy today than a decade ago, thanks in large part to energy efficiency improvements.

More: No Longer a Novelty, Clean Energy Technologies Boom All Across the U.S.

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