How much of the US energy grid is powered by renewables?
The United States is one of the largest consumers of energy in the world. Second only to China, it’s relied on sources such as oil, gas, and coal for much of its history.
Primary energy has long been a subject of debate as one of the most significant contributors to global greenhouse gas emissions. Burning fossil fuels has been the primary method of energy production for over 150 years, currently supplying around 80% of the world’s energy.
Pressures are mounting on the federal government, state authorities and corporations to strengthen action against climate change. Maneuvering away from finite resources is an important step to reducing greenhouse emissions, of which fossil fuels accounted for 74% in the US in 2019.
Renewable energy is available in abundance and the infrastructure is gradually being implemented to unlock its full potential.
How much are renewables contributing currently?
Just 21.5% of power grid electricity generated in the US was from renewable sources in 2022. Compare this to the 60.2% produced from fossil fuels and there is evidently still a long way to go before renewables are dominant.
It’s estimated that the country has enough renewable energy resources to meet the annual electricity demand 100 times over. This staggering figure suggests that more can be done to harness and supply this clean energy to the people of the United States. So why isn’t it?
What are the issues preventing further adoption?
Natural resources are there to facilitate renewable energy supplying the needs of the entire country, but there are issues with implementation, infrastructure and opposing views that seem to be holding progress back.
The cost of installing renewable energy infrastructure is significant. Solar panels, wind turbines and other necessary technologies are also difficult to implement on a large scale. Necessary technical components including strain gauges, solar sensors and advanced barometers add to the complexity of the engineering process.
Public opinion appears to be overwhelmingly in support of the adoption of renewable energy, but governmental policies and lobbying from members of the gigantic fossil fuel industry are undoubtedly barriers to mass development in this space. The energy sector plays a massive role in the US and global economy, and any changes are likely to be met with some resistance from various stakeholders.
The United States has a long way to go in reducing its reliance on fossil fuels and increasing mass adoption of renewable energy. Hopefully, stakeholders can unite to do what’s best for the planet.