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Smart Energy Solutions: Increase Renewable Energy

Renewable energy is reliable, affordable, and beneficial for our health, our economy, and our environment. By increasing renewable energy, we can:

  • Reduce air pollution
  • Cut global warming emissions
  • Create new jobs and industries
  • Diversify our power supply
  • Decrease dependence on coal and other fossil fuels
  • Move America toward a cleaner, healthier energy future

      UCS supports practical, cost-effective policies that promote renewable energy and lower barriers to its adoption. These include strong renewable electricity standards, financial incentives like clean energy tax credits, and investment in a smarter electrical grid.

      Discover the Power of Renewable Energy

      We have the technologies and resources to reliably produce at least 40 percent of our electricity from renewable energy sources within the next 20 years. We can generate that electricity from a variety of sustainable sources, with wind and solar power currently experiencing the fastest growth.

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      Ramping Up Renewables: Energy You Can Count On

      Renewable energy is growing rapidly, with record numbers of new wind and solar installations coming online in the U.S. over the past few years. We can readily continue this rapid expansion of renewable energy by utilizing existing technologies, investing in improvements to our electricity system, and making smart policy decisions that move the country toward a clean energy future.

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      Renewable Electricity Standards: A Success Story

      A Renewable Electricity Standard (RES)—also called a Renewable Portfolio Standard— requires utility companies to obtain a certain percentage of their electricity from renewable sources. UCS has worked with communities across the nation to establish state standards, and to date nearly two-thirds of states have established them—with many meeting or exceeding their goals ahead of schedule.

      UCS works to strengthen these existing standards, expand RES policies to new states, and monitor efforts at the federal level to establish a national clean energy standard.

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      Support Clean Energy Tax Credits

      Appropriate government incentives can be an important tool to speed deployment and reduce costs for clean energy technologies. In recent years there has been modest federal support for renewables like wind and solar power, but it pales in comparison to the large government subsidies that continue to prop up coal, natural gas, and nuclear power.

      We need a fair and stable federal tax policy for renewable energy that will attract new investments and maintain the strong growth that renewables have experienced in recent years. 

      The Production Tax Credit (PTC)—a federal incentive that provides crucial financial support for the first ten years of a renewable energy facility's operation—offers a striking example of the benefits, and challenges, of establishing smart government policies for renewable energy.

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      Build a Better, Smarter Electrical Grid

      The power lines, transformers, and control stations that make up our current energy grid are old, increasingly unreliable, and not adequate to handle a significant increase in renewable energy.

      To move toward a cleaner energy economy, we must improve our nation’s electrical grid, as well as construct the transmission infrastructure needed to connect renewable energy facilities to cities and regions with high power demand.

      Learn more about how our grid works with this helpful video from the Energy Foundation.

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      Expand Renewable Energy on Agricultural Lands

      Renewable energy and farming are a winning combination. Wind, solar, and biomass energy can be harvested from agricultural lands with minimal impact on food production, increasing renewable energy supplies and providing farmers with a long-term source of additional income.

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      Address Land and Wildlife Impacts of Renewable Energy

      Renewable energy facilities must be sited and developed in a way that effectively balances land conservation priorities and best protects wild animals and their habitats.

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      Seven Ways to Switch America to Renewable Energy

      In 1999 UCS released Powerful Solutions, a comprehensive report that outlined effective government policies to increase renewable energy—big-picture strategies that remain relevant even today.

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      Regional Efforts

      Several states have taken the lead in establishing strong renewable energy policies, most notably in California and the Western States. UCS is working to support and promote California’s efforts, as well as provide scientific analysis for expanding renewable energy in the Midwest and other regions.

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