BOSTON -- 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. 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.
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 one million electric vehicles 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 twenty-first century,” said Susan Rakov, chair of Environment America Research and Policy Center’s Clean Energy program. “Today, nearly 50 million American 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 electric vehicles.
“America's growth in clean energy is primarily the result of states taking action," said Emma Searson, 100% Renewable Campaign director with Environment America Research & Policy Center. “Forward looking policies designed to tap into each state’s vast renewable resources are creating a virtuous cycle of technological advancements, falling costs and greater deployment.”
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 the pack on efficiency improvements. In addition to taking first place for solar energy growth by a wide margin, California also ranked No. 1 for electric vehicle charging stations and sales (followed by New York, Washington, Florida and Texas). The Golden State 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.
“Renewables continue to beat all expectations,” Searson said. “In the decade ahead, we have an opportunity to reimagine our energy future with these technologies front and center.”
Environment America Research & Policy Center is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to protecting our air, water and open spaces. We work to protect the places we love, advance the environmental values we share, and win real results for our environment. Environment America Research & Policy Center is part of The Public Interest Network. The Public Interest Network runs organizations committed to our vision of a better world, a set of core values, and a strategic approach to getting things done.