United States Renewable Energy

United States—No 2050 national commitment, but Hawaii and 5 cities are committed

The United States has not made a commitment to reach 100% renewable energy by 2050. However, several cities have made the commitment with the hope of inspiring others to do the same. In fact, five cities including Aspen, CO, Burlington, VT, Greensburg, KS, Rock Port, MO, and Kodiak Island, AK are already powered 100% by renewable energy, according to the Sierra Club.

In addition, according to EcoWatch, the state of Hawaii is the first state committed to meeting its entire energy demand with renewables, with a target date of 2045. Part of the strength of Hawaii’s commitment to renewable energy comes from its bountiful capacity for rooftop solar power. HECO, Hawaii’s major public utility, also plans to use smart grid technology including demand management and energy storage to meet the state’s needs. The state employs a major tax credit program as well as a feed-in tariff to incentivize consumers to purchase and install solar panels

While no other state has committed to the 100% renewable energy target, many cities have made the commitment, including major cities such as Atlanta, GA (100% by 2035); Boulder, CO (100% by 2030); and San Jose, CA (100% by 2022). A major resource that cities are using to increase their percentage of renewable energy is a power purchasing plan allowing the city to purchase renewable energy from large solar or wind farms farther away—because these farms are removed from urban centers, they are able to cover large swaths of land capable of generating the electricity needed to power urban areas.

Notably, San Diego, CA, whose goal is to achieve 100% renewable energy by 2035, includes a plan for 90% of its vehicles to be electric by that same year. Many cities, including San Jose, CA, are also combining aggressive plans to increase the amount of renewable energy generated within the city by rooftop solar panels with plans to reduce energy consumption overall.

Although the US has no national commitment to 100% renewable energy, there is hope that cities and states will commit to the target, as domestic pressure from constituents and international pressure from other signatories of the Paris Agreement mounts.

Learn More

The Sierra Club’s “Ready for 100” page: http://www.sierraclub.org/ready-for-100/cities-ready-for-100
Hawaii Enacts Nation’s First 100% Renewable Energy Standard (EcoWatch): https://www.ecowatch.com/hawaii-enacts-nations-first-100-renewable-energy-standard-1882047718.html
Hawaii’s HECO May Reach 100% Renewable Energy Target 5 Years Early (Clean Technica): https://cleantechnica.com/2017/01/11/hawaiis-heco-may-reach-100-renewable-energy-target-5-years-early/
Cost of Solar Power in Hawaii: https://energytransition.org/2016/06/the-cost-of-solar-power-in-hawaii/