Trump sailed into office on empty promises of bringing back coal and gutting clean energy regulations. As if to prove his point, he immediately handed the State Department over to Exxon and vindictively resuscitated two dead oil pipelines.
But despite the Trump administration’s best efforts, clean energy is growing fast – so fast that it just replaced coal as the world’s biggest source of power capacity. And while the White House flails around trying to slow down its growth, states and cities all over the country – as well as countries all over the world – are forging ahead with safe, accessible clean energy.
Here are the facts:
Renewables have gotten cheaper
On average, renewable energy is now the cheapest option for new energy infrastructure all over the world, from Nigeria to Canada. Over the last seven years, the cost to produce a solar panel has dropped nearly 75%.
Sources like solar and wind are so much more affordable because so much of dirty energy costs come from the physical resource itself. As CleanTechnica’s Zachary Shahan writes, “much of the price of dirty energy power plants is in the fossil fuel — the physical resource.”
Sun and wind, on the other hand, are free, with most of the cost going to the labor behind creating things like solar panels or building wind farms. “When we pay for solar and wind power plants,” Shahan points out, “we pay for human labor, and often help create or support local jobs.”
And speaking of jobs…
Clean energy is now creating jobs way faster than the fossil fuel industry
Solar and wind power are growing 12 times faster than the rest of the U.S. economy, and “wind turbine technician” is the fastest-growing job in America. In fact, the solar industry alone employs more people than gas, coal, and oil put together.
While renewable jobs skyrocket, jobs in the fossil fuel industry are dropping. The average number of people working in coal mines fell 12% in 2015.
States and cities have gotten in on the action
Maryland launched a program this year to allow anyone, regardless of income or the size of their home, to get their power from an array of solar panels shared by the whole community. New York launched a majorly ambitious plan to get emissions and energy consumption down and renewable sources way up by 2030. California and Massachusetts introduced bills requiring their states to get 100% of their power from clean energy sources within in the next two decades. Hawai’i went even farther, enacting the country’s first 100% renewable energy standard: officially setting a goal to get 100% of its power from sources like wind and solar.
Even more impressive moves are happening on city levels, often in surprising states. In 2017, Georgetown, Texas became one of the first U.S. cities to be powered entirely by renewable energy. And Pueblo, CO and Moab, UT joined 21 other U.S. cities in committing to transition to 100% clean energy within the next couple decades.
Countries all over the world put the U.S. to shame
In 2016, Costa Rica managed a record-breaking 76 days straight powered only by renewables. Portugal got 48% of its energy from renewables in 2015. On one day in Germany, last year so much power was being supplied from solar and wind that power prices went down to negative $57. In Spain, over 29 million homes get power from wind. Denmark’s wind farms met 100% of the country’s power demand and then some for 2015. And in China last year, two wind turbines were installed every hour.
We can all keep this going, together
As hard as he might try, Trump can’t undo most of these victories. As climate change expert Chris Goodall said earlier this year, “If governments want to stall the development of solar they will have to actively legislate to do so.” Of course, that’s well in the realm of possibility for Trump. But community solar panels, city ordinances, activist pressure—those are tough to kill. And those are spreading like wildfire.
No matter where you live, you can start getting your power from clean, safe renewable energy at no extra cost right now. Our partner Arcadia Power lets you access clean energy without any new equipment and without paying extra on your utility bills. You can sign up now and have clean energy by the time you get your next utility bill, plus snag 4 free LED bulbs. Plus, you’ll be helping Arcadia support the work we do at Other98. It’s a win-win! Just use this link to sign up.