Report: U.S. Renewable Energy Production Rising Sharply

The proportion of energy produced by renewable sources in the United States has almost quadrupled in the last decade.

2 minute read

November 17, 2021, 11:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Solar and Wind Energy

Soonthorn Wongsaita / Shutterstock

According to a new report, "[t]he proportion of electricity the United States gets from solar and wind nearly quadrupled between 2011 and 2020," writes Tik Root.

The report used data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration to assess the gigawatt-hours produced by wind and solar generation, which both grew while geothermal generation remained stagnant.

Solar generation grew particularly quickly, with the report finding a 23-fold increase since 2011. Wind, which started at a higher percentage than solar, saw an almost threefold increase. Three states — Iowa, North Dakota and Kansas — now produce at least half the amount of electricity they consume from wind and solar.

The report also found that costs for renewable energy have dropped sharply and are projected to continue declining. This, along with aggressive state policies that support renewable energy production in places like California, has contributed to the boom. According to the report, "every state in the country has enough potential from either solar or wind energy alone to supply all of its electricity needs."

The continued growth of the sector doesn't come without challenges such as the effectiveness of transmission systems and the "social acceptability" of projects. Meanwhile, report co-author Emma Searson cautions that energy conservation is just as critical to achieving 100 percent clean energy as increasing renewable energy production, but that goal is now something potentially achievable.

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