Renewable energy is providing clean, reliable electricity across the United States and around the world. It is also growing rapidly, with record numbers of new wind and solar installations coming online in the U.S. over the past few years.
We can readily continue this rapid expansion of renewable energy — and accelerate the transition away from dirty, coal-fired power plants — by utilizing existing technologies, investing in improvements to our electricity system, and making smart policy decisions that move the country toward a clean energy future.
If we make smart decisions today, renewable energy could reliably provide 80 percent of U.S. electricity by 2050.
To accomplish it will require adding a high level of variable energy sources, with wind and solar alone generating 50 percent of U.S. electricity. Reliably integrating these resources may increase the complexity of the challenge, but does not pose insurmountable technical problems or significant costs. To get there, we need to make smart investments and policy decisions today that move the country toward a cleaner energy future.
- Build new transmission lines to connect remote areas with strong wind and solar potential to areas of high electricity demand, and to link regional electricity grids together to more efficiently integrate wind and solar power and lower costs.
- Improve technologies to store renewable energy for use when electricity demand is high, such as advanced batteries, pumped hydro, and thermal storage.
- Create a smarter grid that avoids costly spikes in electricity demand; increases the efficiency of our homes, businesses, and appliances; and makes the electricity grid more efficient by using technologies that quickly adapt to changing conditions in supply and demand.
- Establish forward-thinking policies that set strong state and national standards to increase energy efficiency and renewable energy supplies, and lower market barriers to aid the rapid deployment of renewable energy technologies.