Path to 100 Percent Renewable Energy Is Here

EWG’s Cook: “First energy policy debate in the age of renewables”
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For Immediate Release: 
Tuesday, March 26, 2019

WASHINGTON – The path toward a U.S. electricity grid powered entirely by renewable energy is right in front of us and can be achieved if Congress commits to investing in clean energy production and storage, said Environmental Working Group President Ken Cook.

Today, the Senate is expected to take up the Green New Deal, which calls on lawmakers to back visionary legislation that will set the nation on a rapid course to use only clean, safe, zero-emissions sources of energy.

“To treat the climate crisis like a crisis, we must do everything we possibly can to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Cook. “That means dramatically accelerating the production of renewable energy. The good news is that the share of electricity from renewables has doubled in just a decade and continues to grow at a remarkable rate.”

“Thanks to a revolution in battery storage,” Cook said, “wind and solar production have increased dramatically in the last few years. We have reached a tipping point where it’s no longer hard to imagine an economy powered entirely by green energy sources. Indeed, what is underway this week is the first energy policy debate in the age of renewables.”

EWG’s analysis of government data and expert studies shows:

  • Solar capacity has almost tripled in recent years, from 19,000 megawatts in 2015 to 48,000 megawatts in 2018.
  • Wind production has also almost tripled since 2009, from 35,000 megawatts in 2009 to more than 90,000 megawatts in 2018.
  • Growth in wind and solar has lowered the cost of solar and wind by 88 percent and 69 percent, respectively, since 2009.
  • There are now three times as many renewable energy jobs as coal, nuclear and natural gas jobs.
  • The true cost of green energy sources is now less than the cost of coal, natural gas and nuclear.

Total solar and wind potential is 14 times current electric power capacity. But rather than adopting policies to dramatically accelerate wind, solar and battery storage, Republicans are promoting policies to protect fossil fuels and slow the growth of renewable energy.

“We must increase renewable energy investments, expand efficiency standards and create a level playing field,” said Cook. “Instead, Republican leaders in Washington and in some state legislatures are working to cut funding for renewable energy, rolling back energy efficiency standards, placing new barriers before residential solar and bailing out dirty, inefficient sources of energy like coal. Meanwhile  too many electric utility companies continue to fight the rise of renewable, distributed, community-based electricity because it threatens their top-down, centralized control of the grid.”

“Investing in renewable energy – through solar and wind tax policy, through energy efficiency standards, and through the Recovery Act – has worked,” Cook said. “Now is the time to double and triple down on these renewable energy policies and investments. If we make the right choices, we can create millions of green collar jobs and reverse the climate crisis before it’s too late.”

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The Environmental Working Group is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization that empowers people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. Through research, advocacy and unique education tools, EWG drives consumer choice and civic action.

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