The US currently generates close to nine percent of its electricity from renewable sources such as wind, solar, biomass, and hydropower. During the past several years, renewable electricity markets have surged as a result of new federal and state policies. Thirty-five states and Washington, DC, have established renewable energy targets designed to increase the amount of renewable electricity in utility portfolios. Despite the impressive amount of new policies that have been implemented, many policy makers in the US are evaluating how to further accelerate renewable energy growth. As can be seen in the graph below, renewable electricity generation has declined since a peak at over 12 % in the 1990s because of decreases in hydropower output. The US will need to dramatically increase the amount of installed renewable energy capacity in order to surpass recent historical highs, improve energy security, create new jobs, and address the growing risks of climate change. Since the start of this decade, non-hydro resources, especially wind and solar energy, have grown rapidly in key state markets (Sherwood, 2009; Wiser & Bolinger, 2009). The question remains, however: is current growth fast enough to transition to a more sustainable energy supply and meet the threat of climate change?
Excerpt from “FITness Testing: Exploring the myths and misconceptions about feed-in tariff policies,” published by the World Future Council.
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