Julia Pyper | Green Tech Media
A new report documents the democratization of renewables, energy storage and electric vehicles in America.
Last year, the U.S. produced a record amount of solar power, generating 39 times more solar power than a decade ago. In 2008, solar produced 0.05 percent of electricity in the U.S. But by the end of 2017, solar generation reached more than 2 percent of the electricity mix — enough to power 7 million average American homes.
Wind has also seen dramatic growth over the last decade. From 2008 through 2017, American wind energy generation grew nearly fivefold. Last year, wind turbines produced 6.9 percent of America’s electricity, enough to power nearly 24 million homes. And the forecast shows even more growth as America’s offshore wind industry begins to take off.
Meanwhile, the average American uses nearly 8 percent less energy today than a decade ago, thanks in large part to energy efficiency improvements.
The U.S. transportation fleet is also transforming. Last year, all-electric vehicles broke past 100,000 annual sales for the first time, with 104,000 units sold. As recently as 2010, the number of EVs on American roads numbered in the hundreds, even including plug-in hybrid vehicles. Now there are more than 20 pure-electric models on the market, ranging from affordable commuter cars to ultra-fast luxury vehicles.
On the energy storage front, nine of the 10 states that have added the most battery storage capacity to date had zero utility-scale battery capacity in 2008. California, Illinois and Texas are among the battery storage state leaders. In one benchmarking development, a bid to build solar-plus-storage in Arizona beat out competing bids for new natural-gas peaker plants.