The New York Times editorial board called for more renewable energy in a pair of editorials this week.
Monday’s commentary was globally-focused, examining the growth of renewables worldwide and the role they can play in helping countries achieve their Paris agreement promises.
“Last year, for the first time, renewables accounted for a majority of new electricity-generating capacity added around the world, according to a recent United Nations report. More than half the $286 billion invested in wind, solar and other renewables occurred in emerging markets like China, India and Brazil — also for the first time. Excluding large hydroelectric plants, 10.3 percent of all electricity generated globally in 2015 came from renewables, roughly double the amount in 2007.”
“These are all hopeful signs. They suggest that reductions in carbon emissions can be achieved more quickly and more cheaply than widely believed. And they provide hope that nations will be able to achieve the ambitious goals they set for themselves at last December’s climate summit meeting in Paris — to keep warming below the threshold beyond which the world will be locked into a future of devastating consequences, including rising sea levels, severe droughts and flooding, widespread food and water shortages and more destructive storms.”
And yesterday the Times kept its focus here in the U.S., explaining that electric grid modernization and transmission infrastructure projects are necessary to realize America’s full wind power potential.
“In the case of wind, most of that power is generated far from the urban centers that would use it. Transmission would require a new nationwide system of power lines reaching from the windiest parts of the country. Such a system could also allow power suppliers the flexibility to shift supply depending on variations in weather.”
“Transmission lines are generally safe, but they would change the appearance of open space in the West and the Midwest. In some cases, lines can be placed underground. But underground lines are far more expensive to construct and maintain than aboveground lines, and lower costs would translate into lower electricity rates for consumers… But the country won’t be able to make a swift transition to renewable energy if landowners and local regulators stand in the way.”
Updating our grid and adding new transmission moves the U.S. forward by delivering clean energy, cutting electricity bills costs and keeping on the lights. It’s an essential part of continuing to grow American wind power.