The future is renewable (in more ways than one). Several states have gone out and made 100% renewable electricity or 100% renewable energy commitments, but most have not. Something surprising I just discovered via Environment America, though, is that 1 out of 3 Americans live in a state that has some form of 100% clean electricity commitment. Naturally, that is bolstered by the fact that California has such a commitment and has so many people in it (39.35 million people, 12% of the USA’s 329.5 million). California alone already puts us at 1 out of every 8 Americans.
According to Environment America, 10 states have 100% clean or renewable electricity commitments — since Rhode Island joined the crowd in June of this year. (Rhode Island also has the quickest timeline to 100% renewable electricity — a plan to achieve that goal by 2033.)
After extreme leadership from Hawaii in 2015, when it passed a commitment to 100% renewable electricity by 2045 (40% by 2030, 70% by 2040), California passed a commitment to 100% zero-carbon energy by 2045 in 2018. New Mexico then passed a bill into law in 2018 committing to 100% carbon-free electricity by 2045 (and 50% renewable electricity by 2030) as did Washington (the same commitment to 100% carbon-free electricity by 2045, but a more ambitious 80% carbon-free electricity by 2030).
In 2019, Maine added on with a commitment to 100% renewable electricity by 2050 (not very ambitious, but it’s something); New York committed to 100% zero-carbon electricity by 2040; Virginia set its vision on 100% carbon-free electricity by 2045; Oregon committed to 100% clean electricity by 2040; and Illinois committed to 100% carbon-free electricity by 2045.
But what about your state? If you’re not one of the one-third of Americans living in a state with a 100% carbon-free or zero-carbon or renewable electricity target, how about getting the ball rolling? All commitments have to start with someone. Environment America writes, “Tell your governor to commit to 100% renewable.” Included at that link is a way to quickly and easily send a message to your governor pushing for a 100% renewable electricity commitment. You can modify the message or even write your own completely (strongly preferred), but here’s what they include in the draft email/letter:
“Today, we are more capable than ever of capturing energy from the wind and sun. It can be done more cheaply and efficiently than ever before, and yet we are still producing, consuming, and wasting energy in ways that do lasting damage to our environment and our health.
“I urge you to stand with initiatives committing our state to a 100% renewable energy future, whether that be transitioning away from fossil fuels or investing in clean energy infrastructure. We need to do everything we can to embrace clean and renewable energy in order to build safer communities, reliable power grids and a healthier future.”
The subject line, which you can’t modify on their site (but you can always simply send your own email directly), is: “Subject: Commit to 100% renewable energy.”
Of course, 100% renewable electricity or 100% renewable energy commitments go far beyond the USA. Some countries are already at 100% renewable electricity, and others are close or have timelines like the ones above. Most, unfortunately, have no such thing and needs champions among their citizenry in order to bring those commitments to life.
In the private sector, great source for encouraging and tracking commitments from companies around the world is RE100. RE100 reports that there are now 370+ companies that have 100% renewable commitments of some sort.
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