Renewables Boom and Emissions Plunge

Findings from the 2017 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook show that the U.S. economy is growing without depending on high energy consumption and carbon emissions.

The GDP grew by 12% while energy consumption has dropped by 3.6% according to the Factbook that is compiled by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Greenhouse gas emissions are plummeting; total U.S. greenhouse emissions hit a 25-year low in 2016. In the power sector greenhouse emissions fell by 5.3% in 2016. The carbon footprint has shrunk by 24% since 2005 partially due to the dramatic reduction in renewable energy prices and expanded adoption of energy efficiency measures.

Due to the improvements U.S. is three-quarters of the way toward meeting the Clean Power Plan to reduce emissions by 32% by 2030.

The trend of increasing independence from energy demand and carbon emissions is growing. Statistics in the 2017 Factbook demonstrate that the U.S. has been able sustain economic growth while moving towards clean energy.

“The U.S. continues to use energy more efficiently and with lower CO2 emissions, while at the same time cutting consumer spending,” said Colleen Regan, head of North America Power and Environmental Markets at BNEF, in a statement. “2016 offered further proof that we can decarbonize and grow our economy, all without raising customer bills.”

Last year the overall energy consumption fell by 0.2% while GDP grew by 1.6%. This is due to utilities tripling their spending on energy-efficiency projects from $2.2 billion in 2007 to $6.3 billion in 2015.

In 2016 U.S. added 22 gigawatts of renewable capacity, setting a new record for renewable energy additions in a year. More than half of the additions came from the solar industry. Solar prices have fallen 90% below 2008 levels, making sustainable energy easily accessible.

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