Green Energy Revolution, abroad and at home
Research: Minnesota Solar Pathways
Lending Center: Solar Financing
Modern Diplomacy — Renewable Energy Now Accounts for a Third of Global Power Capacity
In addition to energy efficiency (our least-cost energy resource), renewable energy will continue to play a huge role in achieving a healthy low-carbon economy, within collective efforts to mitigate climate change. From our home base in Minnesota, CEE’s mission is to help residents, businesses, and entire communities take part in the clean energy revolution sweeping the planet.
Although Minnesota’s energy goals are notable, this isn’t just a local story. Renewable energy is on the rise across the globe, accounting for a third of global power capacity as of 2018, per a recent article from Modern Diplomacy. Renewable power sources like solar energy, wind energy, bioenergy, geothermal energy, and hydropower have been trending upward in use and popularity for the last decade — making them an economically and environmentally compelling path to a stronger and greener global economy.
As the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) described in their current report on renewable energy capacity statistics for 2019, global additions to renewable energy capacity in the last year totaled 171 gigawatts — a 7.9 percent increase from the previous year. For context, one gigawatt is one billion watts and could power 100 million LED lightbulbs. Modern Diplomacy also noted that energy from solar and wind sources accounted for 84 percent of the total renewable capacity increase.
While it may feel hard to grasp on a global scale, we’re also seeing the effects of the rapid increase in renewable energy capacity here at home. Solar farms are popping up all over the state, both as part of existing utility grids and as community projects. You may have noticed the growing number of solar panels in Minneapolis neighborhoods as well, as the city’s “green zones” program builds up momentum. And wind power now supplies over 25 percent of electricity production in the upper Midwest, supporting over 18,000 jobs and $28 billion in private investments.
Amid all that progress, CEE is driven to help Minnesotans ride the green wave. One example of our efforts, CEE researchers are working with the State’s Department of Commerce to examine Minnesota's current and future solar landscape and evaluate the state's potential for more, low-cost solar energy capacity. Additionally, CEE’s Lending Center offers low-interest loans for photovoltaic solar technology for homeowners in Minnesota to help them increase their home’s efficiency and decrease environmental impact. And our policy team is helping to forge the framework for proposals toward 100 percent clean energy in Minnesota’s electricity sector by 2050.
CEE’s roots lie in our support for regional clean energy. We have a history of supporting a range of local work to help lessen energy impacts, including attention to renewables. From a starting point of efficiency, CEE aims to be an innovative and pragmatic force helping communities to stay at the forefront of clean energy potential, while contributing to Minnesota’s leadership at the heart of the planet’s green energy revolution.