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Renewable Energy Ahead of Earlier Projections

Renewable Energy Ahead of Earlier Projections Click to Enlarge Photo:

Jun 5, 2017 at 12:35 pm

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Despite President Trump pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord, Americans continue to embrace the idea of renewable energy. 

Forty years ahead of Environmental Protection Agency predictions, output from renewable energy has doubled. Nearly 20 percent of electricity in the U.S. now comes from renewable resources. According to the latest issue of the U.S. Energy Information Administration's "Electric Power Monthly," energy sources such as biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar and wind accounted for one-fifth of U.S. electrical generation as of the end of March. 

Ken Bossong, executive director at the SUN-DAY campaign, said the momentum that has been gained could be lost because of the latest developments in Washington. 

"If anything, it's clearly more of a problem today," Bossong said. "And certainly with the Trump administration it's a serious concern just because there's not the support that we had just a year ago from the White House for addressing this problem. "

In 2012, a report by the Energy Information Administration predicted the country would see wind and solar power providing 15 percent of total energy by 2035. Bossong said while it's great that we've surpassed that, we actually should be much further along if we want to prevent damage from the changing climate. 

He said it can be slowed on an individual basis.

"Just basic, common sense things like changing light bulbs, it's one of the easiest, cheapest ways to reduce electricity use and thereby reduce the dependency on fossil fuel-generated electric plants," he said. "Other simple tasks like recycling have a direct impact on energy. "

Bossong said solar power is utilized by 1.2 million households in America - 25,000 in Indiana - either from solar panels installed on rooftops or by homeowners tapping in to nearby solar energy sources. In 2006 only about 30,000 homes had solar panels. 

The cost of renewable energy has come down as well. Bossong said a decade ago it cost $9 per watt of power generated by solar panels. Today, it's less than $4 a watt.

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