By Jodie Van Horn, Sierra Club
Clean, renewable energy like wind and solar has expanded significantly across the United States, as the costs for clean energy technologies like wind, solar, and utility scale battery storage have fallen in recent years.
According to a new report by the Department of Energy, the cost of wind power is down 41 percent from 2008 and solar costs are down between 54 percent and 64 percent in that same period. Battery storage technology has also fallen 73 percent since 2008. As a result, clean energy is on the rise in states, cities, and communities across the country.
Wind and solar accounted for two thirds of all new electricity generation in 2015. Wind power, for example, has nearly tripled since 2008, and electric vehicle sales have almost doubled since 2012.There are now nearly 90,000 jobs in fields ranging from manufacturing and construction to installation in wind energy, and solar employed about 220,000 people in the United States in 2015.
For communities and businesses throughout the United States, this report shows that clean energy is already providing affordable and reliable power, while creating good paying jobs. That’s why 18 cities from the California coast to the heart of oil country in Texas have committed to 100 percent clean energy. Many businesses, including the nation’s biggest auto company, have also pledged to transition to 100 percent clean energy.
With lowering energy costs and increasing investments, the transition to 100 percent clean energy is not only achievable, it’s inevitable. Now, it’s vital that we ensure that all people and communities throughout the United States have access to cleaner, more affordable forms of energy like wind and solar.