Green Cities

Renewable energy is making a breakthrough in the USA

The US is moving towards a renewable energy future. President Obama last month announced the Clean Energy Savings for All initiative, which will increase solar energy for low-income households. The initiative is set to ensure that Americans who want to lower their electricity bills and switch to solar are able to do so. The Obama Administration will work with state agencies to bring gigawatt (GW) of solar to low- and moderate- income families by 2020. This new aim increases the goal initially set in President Obama’s Climate Action Plan to install 100 MW of renewable energy on federally-assisted affordable housing by 2020. The price of solar has already been dropping. Over the past four decades, the price of solar modules has dropped around 26 percent. Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) projects that by 2040, the world will have $3.4 trillion invested in solar—$1.3 trillion more than the projected investment in fossil fuels. The slow and steady rise of solar is also backed by a new push for wind energy. Though lagging behind the likes of the UK, Denmark, and Germany for offshore windfarms, the United States does have just under 50,000 wind turbines throughout 40 states as well as Puerto Rico, for a capacity to produce 8,598 megawatts of electricity in 2015.  The US has gigantic offshore wind potential. The first offshore windfarm in the USA is being built off of Rhode Island’s Block Island. With plans to be hooked up to the electricity grid by the end of 2016, it is estimated that this new system could produce 90 percent of power for Block Island, a popular tourist destination, within the next few years. The project is spearheaded by Deepwater Wind and General Electric Renewable Energy. This demonstration project has been in the works for eight years and costs $300 million. More cities throughout the US are moving towards a 100 percent renewable energy commitment. Ten new cities—including San Diego, Burlington, and San Francisco have made ambitious commitments to move away from heavily polluting fossil fuels. With renewable energy we have the technology and power to create change, we just need the will.