Red States, Green Power

OMG, I am still having conversations with people who tell me that solar and wind power are not feasible and we’re always going to burn carbon or… nuclear (eye roll). Why do I have to keep reminding people that there hasn’t been a new nuclear power plant built in the U.S. since the mid-70s? They’re insanely expensive to build and no insurance company wants to write a policy for the next Fukushima/Chernobyl.

They keep saying that renewables are limited in what they can ever achieve because “what if the wind isn’t blowing and it’s night?”  Well, bullshit! I bet we figure out the energy storage problem way before we come up with a solution to the spent nuclear materials problem.

And furthermore, while renewables are still a too small (but rapidly growing) fraction of our energy picture, there are more and more days where renewable energy is a sizable portions of an area’s power consumption and in surprising places. Wind energy is supplying up to 60% of power on some days in some places.

As the chart below from the American Wind Energy Association shows, wind energy is far from a bit player in states with significant installations of wind farms. The chart shows where and when wind energy production records were set. In Colorado, for instance, wind supplied 60.5 percent of the state’s electricity on May 24 of this year. In Texas, an epicenter of climate denialism, the payoff from its wind farm-building boom came on May 2, when greenhouse gas-free wind provided 28.1 percent of the state’s power.


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