National Clean Energy Week: An Opportunity to Advance America’s Diverse Clean Energy Initiatives
As the world’s population grows, the global economy shifts and developing countries embrace new technologies, the need for vital energy resources that are accessible, affordable and efficient will continue to rise. That’s no different here at home. The U.S. is not without a diverse array of energy sources, including low-to-no emissions energy like renewables, natural gas and nuclear. As we observe the second annual National Clean Energy Week (September 24-28), recognizing the merits of each source is crucial to understanding and shaping the future of American energy.
In 2008, renewable energy sources accounted for about 7 percent of total U.S. energy consumption. In 2017, as the cost of installation and generation continued to become more economical, renewable energy rose to 11 percent of U.S. energy consumption and 17 percent of total electricity generation. Moreover, from 2009 through 2017, renewable energy projects made up 55 percent of all new power construction. Highly favorable among both the general and informed public, renewable energy sources – wind, solar, geothermal, hydroelectric and biomass – carry clear benefits, including lower emissions, reduced air and water pollution, and new jobs.
Similarly, since 2008, U.S. natural gas production has increased by nearly 60 percent. As discussed at Edelman’s June roundtable on Natural Gas Perspectives, although natural gas as an energy source garners less trust globally, it provides several key benefits – affordability, abundance and lower emissions – which have led the American energy industry from simply meeting needs to being well-positioned to fuel the world. Not to mention natural gas provides a mutually beneficial foundation for renewables to integrate into the grid, helping the U.S. to achieve a clean energy future.
Nuclear energy, according to the International Energy Agency, is the world’s second largest source of low-carbon power (after hydropower) and, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, is the largest domestic source of clean energy in America. Today’s nuclear reactors are much different from their mid-twentieth century predecessors: they are smaller and more mobile, with an exceptional record for safety and performance. In 2017, nuclear power generation provided 56 percent of America’s carbon-free electricity in 2017; that’s enough to power 73 million homes across the United States.
Today, the U.S. is the world’s top exporter of natural gas, top producer of nuclear energy and the second-largest growth market for renewables (behind China). It’s worth noting that while American energy production and GDP has increased, total consumption in 2017 declined by 0.2 percent – efficiency is paramount in terms of how we use our resources and fuel our economy. More and more, business leaders understand the role that this diverse mix of energy plays in efficiently running operations and facilities, while also reaching ambitious sustainability targets. From financial services, real estate, transportation to traditional energy companies and everything in between, we are witnessing a trend of businesses embracing clean energy initiatives and sustainability goals.
Join us for a Young Professionals in Clean Energy Happy Hour
This provides an opportune moment for industry and policy makers to come together and drive the clean energy discussion. By advocating support of our nation’s clean energy sector, investing in technological innovation and engaging with the general public and media alike, businesses and government at all levels are playing a critical role in shaping America’s future energy landscape.
Ensuring the U.S.’s diverse mix of clean energy remains a powerhouse requires open exchange through engagement and dialogue. On Thursday, September 27, from 5:30 – 7:00 p.m., Edelman is co-hosting the Young Professionals in Clean Energy Happy Hour during National Clean Energy Week. Hosted at The Dubliner, professionals working in energy from D.C. and all around the country will meet to network and discuss clean energy advancements and goals. Also present will be Edelman’s team of energy experts, former journalists, Capitol Hill and White House communications leaders, and other communications professionals who work within all segments of the industry to promote reliable, efficient energy sources that create jobs, strengthen America’s national security and protect our environment. Please join us as we toast clean energy with the next generation of policy and industry leaders!