Environment Illinois Research and Education Center
Clean energy is sweeping across America and is poised for more dramatic growth in the coming years.
Wind turbines and solar panels made up a tiny fraction of our energy infrastructure 10 years ago. Today, they are everyday parts of America’s energy landscape. The number of homes heated with clean, efficient electric heat pumps increased by 28% in a decade from 2005 to 2015. Just a few years ago, electric vehicles seemed a far-off solution to decarbonize our transportation system. Now, they have broken through to the mass market.
Virtually every day, there are new developments that increase our ability to produce renewable energy, apply it to a wider range of energy needs, and reduce our overall energy use. These developments enable us to envision an economy powered entirely by clean, renewable energy.
In 2020, America produced almost four times as much renewable electricity from the sun and the wind as in 2011, with wind and solar producing 11% of our nation’s electricity in 2020, up from 3% in 2011.
Between 2011 and 2020, U.S. wind, solar and geothermal generation grew at an annual rate of 15%. If those forms of renewable generation were to continue to grow by 15% per year, wind, solar and geothermal would produce enough electricity to meet all of our current electricity needs by 2035.
The last decade has proven that clean energy can power American homes, businesses and industry, and has put America on the cusp of a dramatic shift away from polluting energy sources. With renewable energy prices falling and new energy-saving technologies being developed every day, businesses, cities, states, and the nation should work to obtain 100% of our energy from clean, renewable sources.