In 2019, the U.S. produced over 30 times more solar power and more than triple the amount of wind energy than it did in 2010, according to a new report from Environment America Research & Policy Center, an organization dedicated to protecting air, water and open spaces.
The project, Renewables on the Rise 2020, documents the growth of five key clean energy technologies during the past decade: solar power, wind power, battery storage, energy efficiency and electric vehicles (EVs).
In addition to the growth in renewable energy, utility-scale battery storage increased 20-fold since 2010, energy consumption per person declined thanks to improvements in energy efficiency – and more than 1 million EVs were sold in the U.S.
“People have always reaped the benefits of sun and wind, first to grow food, then to move ships – and now, to power the 21st century,” said Susan Rakov, chair of the clean energy program at the Environment America Research and Policy Center. “Today, nearly 50 million U.S. homes rely on clean, renewable energy from the sun and wind. These technologies have risen to the occasion. They are transforming our energy landscape and our future.”
Along with a national overview, the report highlights states that have made the most progress in adopting solar and wind energy, increasing battery storage capacity, improving energy efficiency and transitioning to EVs.
California, North Carolina, Arizona, Nevada and Texas added the most solar energy between 2010 and 2019, while the Mid- and Southwest states of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Iowa and Illinois saw the most wind energy growth. In Kansas and Oklahoma, wind generation grew more than six-fold during that time.
The New England states of Rhode Island and Massachusetts led in efficiency improvements. In addition to taking first place for solar energy growth by a wide margin, California also ranked first in EV charging stations and sales (followed by New York, Washington, Florida and Texas). California was also top for growth in battery storage (followed by Illinois, Texas, Hawaii and West Virginia), thanks in part to strong policy leadership in the state.
Photo: Renewables on the Rise 2020