6 Charts that Will Make You Optimistic About America’s Clean Energy Future
Original source: Energy.gov – 6 Charts that will make you optimistic about America’s Clean Energy Future
Over the last few years, we’ve been in the midst of a clean energy revolution. New technologies, once unthinkably expensive to install and use, have become increasingly cost-competitive at a staggeringly fast clip.
Recently, the Energy Department released a new report called “Revolution… Now,” which details five booming clean energy technologies — plus a few other promising pieces of clean tech that will be key to solving major problems, like climate change. Let’s take a quick peek at six charts that can help us understand these technologies and hopefully America’s clean energy future.
While the first large wind farms were installed 35 years ago, wind power really began to surge around the year 2000, as wind costs dipped into the cost-competitive range of 5 to 10 cents per kilowatt hour (¢/kWh). Since then, wind installations have grown substantially, and now we have more than 65 gigawatts (GW) of installed capacity with another 13.6 GW of capacity in development.
So what does this mean? It means that wind is poised to overtake hydroelectric power as America’s number one source of renewable energy. Wind power accounts for 4.4 percent of total U.S. electric generation and reduces annual carbon dioxide emissions by 115 million metric tons, all while supporting 73,000 U.S. jobs. This is exciting stuff, and it’s only going to get better. As wind turbines get taller, more affordable and more efficient, the Energy Department predicts that an additional 700,000 square miles of land will be suitable for wind development. That’s more than twice the size of Texas…