Report | Environment California Research and Policy Center

Renewables on the Rise 2021

Clean energy is sweeping across America and is poised for more dramatic growth in the coming years. Wind turbines and solar panels made up a tiny fraction of our energy infrastructure 10 years ago. Today, they
are everyday parts of America’s energy landscape. The number of homes heated with clean, efficient electric heat pumps increased by 28% in a decade from 2005 to 2015. Just a few years ago, electric vehicles seemed a far-
off solution to decarbonize our transportation system. Now, they have broken through to the mass market.

Virtually every day, there are new developments that increase our ability to produce renewable energy, apply it to a wider range of energy needs, and reduce our overall energy use. These developments enable us to envision an economy powered entirely by clean, renewable energy.

Report | Environment California Research and Policy Center

An Electric Vehicle Toolkit for Local Governments

Local officials in cities and counties across the country are leading the way toward a cleaner transportation future.

Report | Environment California Research and Policy Center

Trouble in the Air

Despite much progress in reducing levels of air pollution in the U.S., millions of Americans are exposed to unhealthy levels of pollution every year. Ozone and small particulate matter less than 2.5 microns in diameter (PM2.5), among other pollutants, are widespread in the U.S. and have serious health effects. 

Currently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers safe and acceptable levels of air pollution that many American public health groups and international agencies consider unhealthy.
 
 This report examines EPA air quality data from 2020 and shows how often Americans living in large urban areas, small urban areas and rural counties were exposed to air pollution that could damage their health.2 Fossil fuel combustion is the primary human-caused source of air pollution – and the main driver of global warming, which threatens to make air quality even worse in the years to come. Policymakers must move quickly to reduce air pollution, including by electrifying every sector of the economy and transitioning to clean, renewable sources of electricity

Report | Environment California Research & Policy Center

Rooftop Solar at Risk

Rooftop solar power is an essential tool for California to meet its ambitious climate and clean energy goals. California has become the nation’s solar energy leader by adopting policies that have nurtured and grown the state’s market for distributed solar panels on homes and businesses consistently, year after year. 

Today, however, utilities and their allies are pushing for major rollbacks to the state’s key policy for compensating solar panel owners for the surplus energy they share back to the electric grid – called “net metering.” Such a rollback would likely slow down rooftop solar adoption dramatically, threatening California’s continued clean energy progress. 

Report | Environment California Research & Policy Center

The Environmental Case for Rooftop Solar Energy

California has long been a global leader in environmental protection. California’s pioneering actions to reduce air pollution, safeguard natural areas, and protect vulnerable species have set a high standard for the United States and beyond. 

Today, California faces its biggest environmental challenge: climate change. Over the next several decades, California will need to repower its economy with clean, renewable energy – and do so with as little impact as possible on wildlife and wild places. 

Rooftop solar power is a key tool in the fight against climate change. Solar energy on homes, schools, farms and other buildings can be deployed at the speed and scale required to meet the climate crisis, and it can do so while contributing to a resilient, ecologically vibrant future for California.

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