Over the past four years, America’s clean energy future has come into sharper focus. Yesterday’s visionary goals are now hard data -- tangible evidence that our energy system is undergoing a transformation.
The Energy Department’s new report “Revolution Now: The Future Arrives for Four Clean Energy Technologies” highlights these changes, and shows how cost reductions and product improvements have sparked a surge in consumer demand for wind turbines, solar panels, electric cars and super efficient lighting.
Over the course of decades, the Energy Department has advanced each of these technologies through investments in research, development, demonstration and deployment. Today, all four have successfully crossed “the valley of death” -- what entrepreneurs commonly call the gap between research and wide-scale deployment -- and joined a burgeoning consumer market for clean technology. These successes show that America is up to the challenge of delivering cost-competitive, real-world solutions to problems like carbon pollution and climate change.
Some of the technology-specific highlights from the report include:
- Land-based Wind Power: Wind power has become one of America’s best choices for zero-carbon, zero-pollution energy. In fact, in 2012, wind was the largest single source of new electrical generation capacity in the U.S., accounting for 43 percent of new generation assets.
- Residential Solar: The falling price of solar panels has made them a more attainable option for more American families and small businesses. In 2012, rooftop solar panels cost about 1 percent of what they did 30 years ago -- and deployment is skyrocketing.
- LED Lighting: LED (light-emitting diode) lights are about 80 percent more efficient than traditional incandescent light bulbs and last 25 times longer. Over its lifetime, a single $15 LED light will save more than $140 in electricity, compared to incandescent lighting.
- Electric Vehicles: America is the world’s leading market for electric vehicles (EVs). In 2012, America’s EV market tripled in size, and in the first half of 2013 it more than doubled. This rapid expansion has been fueled by high consumer satisfaction and impressive reductions in EV battery costs, which have fallen more than 50 percent in the last four years.
All week on energy.gov, we’ll be highlighting these four technologies with the hashtag #CleanTechNow. To learn more, check out our #CleanTechNow page, follow our posts on @ENERGY, Facebook, Instagram and Google+, and share your photos of how clean energy technologies already play a role in your everyday life. Share wherever you’d like -- or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org -- just make sure you include the hashtag #CleanTechNow. We’ll feature our favorite photo submissions next week.
What’s most exciting is that this is just the beginning. We see ample evidence that America’s clean energy economy is on a fast track for sustained growth. Once a far away dream, the clean energy economy is now a revolution.