This month, I celebrated six years with Renewable Choice Energy, a milestone of which I am extremely proud. When I first joined the company in 2007, there was buzz about climate change and sustainability—sparked in part by Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth and forward-thinking companies like Whole Foods Market—but by and large, companies and consumers hadn’t gotten serious about it. There were lots of accusations of “greenwashing,” and, in total, renewable energy made up less than 2% of the U.S. electric grid.
My, how times have changed.
Fast forward to 2013 when the conversation about how companies can measure, understand, and reduce their environmental impact can be heard at the C-level of every major U.S. corporation and urban center. Major retailers are now focused on how to manage supply chain emissions, while other industry leaders have moved beyond renewable energy credits to power purchase agreements to meet their clean energy needs. The sustainability market is booming, and the recent expansion of renewables has followed suit.
Both wind and solar power have experienced explosive growth in the past few years. Wind power alone now makes up 3.67% of the U.S. grid, and solar energy capacity has grown a whopping 600 times since 2008. At the same time, coal-fired power plants are on the steady decline; last year, more than 9,000 megawatts of coal generation was retired with more expected to follow suit. This summer, the president finally announced his plans for abating climate change including an aggressive goal to double renewable energy production by 2020.
To learn more about the impressive progress made by renewables, we invite you to view our new infographic. You can also download our new special report How Renewables are Winning for an in depth review of the recent industry advances.