As the country faces one of the hottest summers on record, it’s more clear than ever that scorching temperatures and extreme weather events such as climate-induced droughts and wildfires are only becoming more common. Electric grids across the country were built to handle the weather of last century – not the extreme weather of this century. At the same time, geopolitical stresses such as the war in Ukraine have renewed concerns around the availability of energy, energy security, and energy independence.
On day four of American Clean Power Week, we center our attention on the role that renewable energy plays in stabilizing our power grid and securing our energy future. Renewable energy is a reliable and increasing source of homegrown power for Americans across the country and essential to the country’s electricity mix.
Renewables Provide Essential Energy
As the summer continues and energy needs increase, power grids across America will not be able to meet today’s energy demand without renewable energy sources. In the last several months, renewables have provided 36% of California’s and 34% of Texas’ electricity and consistently provide the majority of electricity in many other parts of the country, such as Iowa and South Dakota; renewables provided more electricity than any other source in Kansas and Oklahoma. The Southwest Power Pool (SPP), which operates the power grid for most of the Great Plains, has at times obtained more than 90% of its electricity from renewable sources, and on average generates more than a third of its electricity from wind sources.
Renewables are Reliable
Renewable sources are reliable. Unlike immediate and large outages in conventional generators that often stress the grid unpredictably, changes in renewable energy generation are slow and highly predictable, providing grid operators time to bring other resources online. Enhancements to our nation’s electric grid to integrate a diverse mix of energy sources – paired with transmission expansion and energy storage solutions – can mitigate future weather-related power losses and keep the lights on for families and businesses.
Renewables Ensure Energy Independence
In addition to strengthening the reliability of our energy grid, homegrown renewable sources reduce energy dependence outside of our borders and are essential for America’s security and prosperity. The invasion of Ukraine reminds us of the threats relying on foreign energy sources can bring. Investment in domestic renewable energy manufacturing and supply chains will not only strengthen the global standing of the United States and our allies, but will put us in charge of our own destiny and break our dependence on despots in Russia and the Middle East. We don’t have to look overseas for the sun and the wind; clean energy is a domestic resource that is predictable, reliable, and abundant.
Undoubtedly, harnessing America’s bountiful clean energy resources will strengthen our nation’s grid against extreme weather and secure our energy future. The recently signed Inflation Reduction Act will continue to improve energy reliability and security by enabling the industry to deploy significant amounts of clean energy across the country, incentivizing increased energy storage, and funding more robust transmission infrastructure. America’s clean energy future is bright, reliable, and secure.