America can address our largest environmental challenges by shifting to 100 percent renewable energy. Renewable energy makes us safer and healthier, protecting our communities from global warming and from hazardous air pollution. Renewable energy reduces the need for dangerous and destructive practices like shipping explosive fuels through our cities, fracking for gas near our water supplies, or razing our mountains to dig up dirty coal.
Solar energy is expanding rapidly across the United States – increasing more than 100-fold over the past decade. But, there are still many untapped opportunities to harness the nation’s nearly limitless solar potential. The United States has the technical potential to produce more than 100 times as much electricity from solar photovoltaic (PV) and concentrating solar power (CSP) installations as the nation consumes each year. Given our abundant solar resources, America must take advantage of untapped opportunities to install solar technologies – like using rooftops of large superstores and “big box” retail stores as hosts for clean electricity generation.
Wind power continues to grow as a source of clean energy across America. The United States generated 26 times more electricity from wind power in 2014 than it did in 2001. American wind power has already significantly reduced global warming pollution. In 2014 alone, wind-generated electricity averted an estimated 143 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions – as much as would be produced by 37 typical coal-fired power plants. With America’s massive potential for wind energy on land and off our coasts, wind power can play a key role in meeting the emission reduction targets of the recently adopted Clean Power Plan and moving the nation toward a future of 100 percent renewable electricity.
To take advantage of that potential, however, the nation must create a public policy environment that is supportive of continued wind energy growth. Long-term renewal of federal tax incentive programs for renewable energy, including the Production Tax Credit and the Investment Tax Credit for wind energy, both of which expired at the end of 2014, can help the United States maintain momentum in the fight against global warming.
Offshore wind for New York is closer to reality than it’s ever been before, said environmentalists, public health advocates, and faith leaders today. The groups joined together on a national letter to President Obama and his officials, urging them to continue their leadership in developing wind power off the Atlantic Coast.
Environment New York Research and Policy Center is part of The Public Interest Network, which operates and supports organizations committed to a shared vision of a better world and a strategic approach to social change.