Solar energy is expanding rapidly across the United States – increasing more than 100-fold over the past decade. But, there are still many untapped opportunities to harness the nation’s nearly limitless solar potential. The United States has the technical potential to produce more than 100 times as much electricity from solar photovoltaic (PV) and concentrating solar power (CSP) installations as the nation consumes each year. Given our abundant solar resources, America must take advantage of untapped opportunities to install solar technologies – like using rooftops of large superstores and “big box” retail stores as hosts for clean electricity generation.
Wind power continues to grow as a source of clean energy across America. The United States generated 26 times more electricity from wind power in 2014 than it did in 2001. American wind power has already significantly reduced global warming pollution. In 2014 alone, wind-generated electricity averted an estimated 143 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emis- sions – as much as would be produced by 37 typi- cal coal-fired power plants. With America’s massive potential for wind energy on land and off our coasts, wind power can play a key role in meeting the emis-
sion reduction targets of the recently adopted Clean Power Plan and moving the nation toward a future of 100 percent renewable electricity.
To take advantage of that potential, however, the nation must create a public policy environment that is supportive of continued wind energy growth. Long-term renewal of federal tax incentive programs for renewable energy, including the Production Tax Credit and the Investment Tax Credit for wind energy, both of which expired at the end of 2014, can help the United States maintain momentum in the fight against global warming.
Clean water is at the heart of summertime fun for millions of Coloradans. We swim at a favorite creek, fish in a nearby river, sail or kayak on the lake, or simply hike along a beautiful stream. As the summer draws to a close, Environment Colorado Research & Policy Center’s second annual Summer Fun Index provides a numerical snapshot of people engaging in water activities.
A review of 11 recent analyses shows that individuals and businesses that decide to “go solar” generally deliver greater benefits to the grid and society than they receive through net metering. Decision-makers should recognize the great value delivered by distributed solar energy by preserving and expanding access to net metering and other programs that ensure fair compensation to Americans who install solar energy.
Environment Colorado Research & Policy Center is part of The Public Interest Network, which operates and supports organizations committed to a shared vision of a better world and a strategic approach to social change.