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UCS - Clean Energy is Sweeping the Nation

The news is good. Despite our pro-fossil-fuel administration of climate change deniers, the use of renewal energy is growing across the United States. So says the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) in their report Clean Energy Momentum: Ranking State Progress released in April 2017.

Across America, the growth of wind and solar power generation is impressive. Over the past decade, wind power expanded more than tenfold, supplying energy to more than 20 million households in 41 states. Since 2011, solar power has sprinted ahead with more than 900 percent in growth. In 2016, two million more households now use solar-powered electricity.

That’s not all. Investments in energy efficiency, over the last 25 years, have reduced our need for constructing more than 300 large carbon-emitting power plants. Last year alone, we saved a year’s worth of electricity usage of 20 million households.

When it comes to our gas guzzling vehicles, we’re also making steady progress. Between 2011 and the first quarter of 2017, Americans bought close to 600,000 electric vehicles.

Our clean energy momentum has not only resulted in an 11 percent reduction in our carbon emissions over a five-year period (2011-2015), but also created more jobs in the clean energy sector. More than 500,000 people now work in solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal energy. In solar power alone, jobs grew by 25 percent in 2016. The energy efficiency sector employs almost two million people.


Some states are way ahead in their transition to clean energy. According to the UCS Clean Energy Momentum Report, the top ten states are, as follows:

  1. California
  2. Vermont
  3. Massachusetts
  4. Rhode Island
  5. Hawaii
  6. Oregon
  7. Maine
  8. Washington
  9. New York
  10. Iowa

Observation: Since state rank is based on per-capita results, Texas did not make the top ten list though it leads in total installed wind power capacity to supply the electricity needs of 7 million households.

UCS - Clean Energy Momentum - Ranking by State

Here are some highlights of UCS rankings (in descending order) by state:

Largest increase in percentage of renewable energy:
~ Kansas, Maine, Iowa & Oklahoma

Renewable energy capacity now under construction:
Wyoming (1,600 watts per capita) & North Dakota (1,000 watts per capita)

Increases in state renewable electricity standards:
~ New York & California – Both have pledged to produce 50 percent of their electricity from clean energy sources by 2030.

Residential solar capacity per household:
Hawaii, California, Massachusetts, New Jersey & Vermont

Renewable energy jobs:
Nevada leads in solar power jobs per capita
~ North Dakota leads in wind power
~ Vermont leads in energy efficient
~ Massachusetts ranks first in clean energy jobs overall

Reducing carbon emissions:
Vermont – most aggressive target of 60 percent reduction below 2005 levels by 2030
~ Oregon – target of 50 percent

Adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrid vehicles:
California leads with more than one of every 30 new cars sold in 2016.

Our transition to clean energy is underway. Given the latest threats to sabotage our national clean energy policies, state leadership becomes more important than ever. Be aware. Be engaged. Take action. Reduce your carbon footprint.


Captioned photo and charts sourced from the UCS Clean Energy Momentum Report at ucsusa.org.