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Sat May 25, 2019, 04:03 PM

Amid climate crisis, renewable energy poised for rapid growth

Amid climate crisis, renewable energy poised for rapid growth

By Lynn Jurich, Opinion Contributor — 05/22/19 11:35 AM EDT
The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the view of The Hill

Our climate is changing, and not only is it happening faster than expected, but extreme weather events are destroying the very electricity system we rely on. We only have about 12 years to act before the damage is irrevocable. The good news is that we have the technology and solutions to decarbonize our electricity system, and the public is overwhelmingly supportive.

Thanks to federal clean energy tax incentives and supportive state policies, renewable energy production has increased dramatically over the past decade. In particular,
  • Renewable energy already accounts for 18 percent of our electricity production, up from 9 percent just a decade ago.
  • Solar capacity has almost tripled since 2015, from 19,000 megawatts to 48,000 megawatts in 2018.
  • Wind production has also almost tripled since 2009, from 35,000 megawatts to more than 90,000 megawatts in 2018.
    In combination, total solar and wind potential is more than 14 million megawatts – or 14 times current electric power capacity.
  • Companies are deploying battery storage today, and prices are dropping quickly, falling by 76 percent between 2012 and 2018.
  • As a result, there are now three times as many renewable energy jobs than coal, nuclear and natural gas jobs combined. Solar installers and wind turbine service technicians are the country’s top two fastest growing occupations according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

The bottom line is that there are clean, affordable and reliable ways for families to power their homes. Clean energy tax incentives have proven to be an effective policy tool for reducing carbon emissions and bringing new technologies like energy storage into the market, and federal policymakers should continue these incentives. At the same time, state policymakers should continue their leadership enacting policies that maintain our country’s clean energy momentum.

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