While the Trump administration seeks to prop up and promote use of fossil fuels, the country continues to move in the opposite direction. Last year was actually a pretty positive year for clean energy in the U.S.
In terms of public opinion, 70% of Americans surveyed believe the country should produce 100% of its electricity from renewable energy sources and more than half of survey respondents think renewables are a good idea even if they raise energy bills.
Companies in the U.S. purchased a record 6.43 gigawatts of renewable power, enough to power 1.5 million homes. The number of corporations entering into renewable energy deals doubled last year.
More than 300 U.S. cities, towns or counties have made commitments to climate action and, as of November, 99 cities have committed to 100% renewable energy, doubling the total from a year ago.
A number of gubernatorial candidates running on ambitious renewable energy platforms were elected in November including those in Illinois, Colorado, New Mexico, Maine and Nevada.
Utilities are responding to the growing demand for clean energy. Consumers Energy in Michigan plans to cut carbon emissions by 80% and stop using coal. Iowa-based MidAmerican Energy will become the first U.S. utility to source 100% of its electricity from renewable sources next year. Xcel Energy, one of the biggest utilities in the country, has committed to be 80% carbon-free by 2030 and go completely carbon-free by 2050.
The fossil fuel industry with its supporters in high places is still kicking and screaming, but there is no doubt that the U.S. energy system is changing, and the quiet clean energy revolution will only pick up more steam in 2019.
The US Underwent a Quiet Clean Energy Revolution Last Year
Photo, posted August 15, 2009, courtesy of Ken via Flickr.
Earth Wise is a production of WAMC Northeast Public Radio.
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