Right now, the U.S. has an unprecedented opportunity to transform its energy system. It’s time to say goodbye to the fossil fuel dependent energy systems of the 19th and 20th centuries and embrace a 100 percent renewable energy future.
Momentum is building towards clean, renewable energy sources like wind, solar and geothermal. Big changes in how we produce electricity—like the growth in energy efficiency technologies and solar and the decline in coal power—make a big shift possible. Already, there’s enough wind energy in the U.S. to power 18 million American homes and the cost to install solar has dropped by more than 73 percent since 2006.
And this is just the beginning.
A 100 percent renewable energy future is necessary not only for the climate, but also for local communities. Moving away from the current fossil fuel economy can make our communities healthier, reduce pollution, and create more and better jobs. It can take the burden off the backs of low-income communities and communities of color that have borne the worst impacts of the fossil fuel economy. A 100 percent renewable future can ensure that our energy economy is one that works for everyone, not just fossil fuel CEOs.
Energy and utility companies are deciding now whether they will fight this progress or embrace it. We think the decision is clear.
How We’re Creating a Clean Energy Future
We believe a 100 percent renewable energy future in the U.S. is not only possible, it’s exactly what we need to avoid the worst impacts of catastrophic climate change. We’re supporting an energy revolution in the U.S. in three key ways:
- Challenging the biggest companies in the world to commit to powering their operations with 100 percent renewable energy, and seeing that they make good on those commitments.
- Partnering with allied individuals and organizations working to power their own communities and schools with 100 percent renewable energy.
- Confronting the utility companies currently blocking our renewable energy future, and asking them to embrace innovation or at least get out of the way.
Changing Business for the Better
Prioritizing renewable energy isn’t just right for the environment, it’s right for our economy. Big businesses have the influencing power to move the needle on sustainability by embracing a renewable energy future.
We engage with businesses, governments and consumers so that one pressures the other to create the progress we need to protect our environment. In the last decade, more and more companies have realized that threats to the environment are bad for business.
Those corporations transforming their environmental practices will benefit in the long-term, while those standing in the way of this progress will harm themselves and the world.
One of the best examples of businesses leading the charge on renewable energy comes from the IT sector.
Powering our online world requires a lot of energy, and its footprint grows every day as we live more and more of our lives online. If the IT industry were a country, it would rank sixth in the world in electricity use. While that might seem like a bad thing at first, there’s a big opportunity here: the rapid growth of our online world could actually help our offline world become greener if the electricity powering the Internet comes from clean, renewable sources. That’s why we’re calling on major Internet companies to power their operations with 100 percent renewable energy.
Already, we’ve seen some of the world’s largest IT companies take on this challenge by committing to a 100 percent renewable energy pathway. Apple, Facebook and Google have already committed to powering their operations with 100 percent renewable energy, and their progress is making the grid greener for all of us by pushing electric utilities and politicians to move faster toward renewable energy.
Bringing Solutions to Schools
Greenpeace is partnering with local education and environmental organizations to repower public school districts—starting in North Carolina—with 100 percent renewable electricity.
By investing in renewable energy, schools can save money, enhance curriculum and contribute to a healthier community. Clean energy makes sense for schools because utility costs are often the third-largest expense for public school districts. The savings from renewable energy investments can return to the classroom to cover critical expenses like textbooks and teachers' salaries.
In addition to significant cost savings, solar panels on school roofs can provide hands on learning experience to students and enhance science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) curriculum. Renewable energy also contributes to cleaner air for everyone, which can mean fewer missed school days for kids with asthma.
A movement is growing to repower our schools with renewable energy. As families across the country gear up for a new school year, kids are imagining a brighter future for their schools. By transitioning to 100% renewable electricity, schools can save money to reinvest in the classroom and provide hands on experience for students with 21st century technology.