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.
America’s energy landscape is undergoing a dramatic transformation. According to a new Energy Department report, falling costs for four clean energy technologies -- land-based wind power, solar panels, electric cars and LED lighting -- have led to a surge in demand and deployment.
The numbers tell an exciting story: America is experiencing a historic shift to a cleaner, more domestic and more secure energy future. That clean technology revolution is here today -- and it is gaining force.
- Read the report Revolution Now: The Future for Four Clean Energy Technologies
- Watch a video from Secretary Ernest Moniz and learn more about the report
- Read Secretary's Moniz blog post about the report and the Clean Tech Revolution
Wind energy is the fastest growing source of power in the United States, creating jobs opportunities for thousands of Americans and boosting economic growth. In 2012, U.S. wind capacity topped 60 GW, enough energy to power more than 15 million homes.
- America's Wind Industry Reaches Record Highs
- Wind Farm Growth Through the Years
- Blades of Glory: Wind Technology Bringing Us Closer To a Clean Energy Future
- Energy 101: Wind Turbines
The U.S. is on the verge of a major shift to solar energy, putting a clean, renewable energy source within reach of the average American family. In 2012, rooftop solar panels cost about 1 percent of what they did 30 years ago, and deployment is skyrocketing.
- Top 6 Things You Didn't Know About Solar Energy
- Energy 101: Solar Photovoltaics
- Energy Department Support Brings Game-Changing Advancements in Solar Energy
- Finding Solutions to Solar's Soft Cost Dilemma
- Solar For Milwaukee, By Milwaukee
Before 2010, there was effectively no demand for electric vehicles. In 2012, Americans bought more than 50,000 plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs). And with battery costs falling more than 50 percent in the last four years, 2013 is set to be another banner year for PEVs. In the first half of 2013, Americans doubled the number of PEVs they purchased compared to the same period in 2012, and last month, PEV sales reached a new record high. More than 11,000 PEVs were sold in August 2013 -- that's a 29 percent improvement in sales over the previous monthly record.
- Top 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Electric Vehicles
- The eGallon: How Much Cheaper Is It to Drive on Electricity?
- Visualizing Electric Vehicle Sales
- Energy 101: Electric Vehicles
Unlike traditional incandescent bulbs, LED lighting generates more light than heat and lasts as much as 25 times longer. Once an expensive niche product, LED bulbs are becoming an affordable choice for Americans looking to reduce their electric bills. In 2012, about 49 million LEDs were installed in the U.S. -- saving about $675 million in annual energy costs. Switching entirely to LED lights over the next two decades could save the U.S. $250 billion in energy costs and avoid 1,800 million metric tons of carbon pollution.