Since 2007, Arizona has seen a 318-fold increase in the amount of electricity it gets from the sun and increased wind power production from zero to 543 GWh, according to a new report released today by Environment Arizona Research & Policy Center. The report also highlights advances in the use of energy storage and electric vehicles that will help catalyze a major shift to clean energy in Arizona and in states around the country. At the same time, Arizona ranked seventh among all states for improvements in electricity energy efficiency programs.
“Every day, we see more evidence that an economy powered by renewable energy is within our reach,” said Bret Fanshaw with the Environment Arizona Research & Policy Center. “The progress we’ve made in the last decade on renewable energy and technologies like battery storage and electric cars should give Arizonans the confidence that we can take clean energy to the next level.”
The report, Renewables on the Rise: A Decade of Progress Toward a Clean Energy Future, provides a state-by-state assessment of the growth of key technologies needed to power the nation with clean, renewable energy, including wind, solar, energy efficiency, energy storage and electric vehicles. In energy generation, Arizona ranked second for solar and 28th for wind. The state ranked 15th for the number of electric vehicles sold.
"Key clean energy technologies are improving rapidly and getting cheaper seemingly every day," said Gideon Weissman of Frontier Group, report co-author. "These and other advances open up new opportunities to end our dependence on fossil fuels and embrace a future built on clean, renewable energy."
Many factors contributed to the growth in each category since 2007, including government policies, improved technologies and lower costs. For example, the price of solar in Arizona has declined by 64 percent over the last five years thanks in part to the expansion of the technology through policies like the state renewable energy standard, net metering and state and federal tax credits.
The report also comes as a growing number of U.S. cities, states, corporations and institutions consider commitments to 100 percent renewable energy. Currently, 37 U.S. cities have committed to that goal, including Flagstaff. Nearly 100 major companies, including Apple, Walmart and LEGO, have made similar commitments. Hawaii is committed to 100 percent renewable electricity by 2045. California and Massachusetts are currently considering legislation. And, bills to move the country to 100 percent renewable energy have been introduced in both houses of the U.S. Congress.
“The reality is inescapable: fossil fuels pollute our air, water and land, threatening our health and changing our climate even faster than scientists predicted,” said Fanshaw. “We need to seize the moment and lean into a future powered by clean, renewable energy.”