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The Inertia

New York has been graced with strong sun and whipping winds that electricity companies have harnessed for renewable energy in the past several years. The state has seen a 6,548% increase in the amount of energy it gets from the sun and a 473% increase in wind power production since 2007, according to a report released by the Environment New York Research & Policy Center. While the state’s been undergoing an energy revolution, the findings in New York advances are really just a glimpse into America’s growth toward using more and more renewable energy sources.

“Every day, we see more evidence that an economy powered by renewable energy is within our reach,” said Heather Leibowitz, Director of Environment New York. “The progress we’ve made in the last decade on renewable energy and technologies like battery storage and electric cars should give New Yorkers the confidence that we can take clean energy to the next level.”

In an additional report, Renewables on the Rise: A Decade of Progress Toward a Clean Energy Future, a state by state assessment is provided on the growth of key technologies to power the nation with clean, renewable energy. These technologies include wind, solar, energy efficiency, energy storage, and electric vehicles. New York was ranked 16th for wind, 9th for solar, and 4th for the number of electric vehicles sold. It’s a snapshot of America’s shift away from a dependence on fossil fuels in the past ten years. Some of the most intriguing findings and facts include:

-America produces 43 times more solar power than it did in 2007, enough to power more than 5 million average American homes. In 2007, solar rooftops and utility-scale solar power plants produced 0.03 percent of U.S. electricity; by 2016, they produced 1.4 percent of America’s power.

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-America produces seven times as much wind power as it did in 2007, enough to power 21 million homes. In 2007, wind turbines produced 0.8 percent of the nation’s electricity; by 2016, they produced 5.5 percent of America’s power.

-America uses 3.6 percent less energy than in 2007, in great part due to more energy efficient lighting, appliances, and cars. The average American uses 10 percent less energy than in 2007, and the nation’s energy consumption per unit of GDP has fallen by 14 percent.

-There were 157,000 electric vehicles sold in the U.S. in 2016, up from virtually none in 2007. Electric vehicle sales surged by nearly 40 percent in 2016 over 2015, fueled by lower prices, better performance and a range of attractive and affordable new vehicle models. In the first five months of 2017, electric vehicle sales were up an additional 44 percent over 2016.

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– The United States saw a 20-fold increase in utility-scale battery storage from 2007 to 2016, with the greatest increase taking place in 2016.

“Key clean energy technologies are improving rapidly and getting cheaper seemingly every day,” said Gideon Weissman of Frontier Group, the report’s co-author. “These and other advances open up new opportunities to end our dependence on fossil fuels and embrace a future built on clean, renewable energy.”

“We’ve built a good foundation with initiatives including the Clean Energy Standard and the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative,” said Leibowitz. “But now we need to build on that foundation and do even more.”

 

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