How to build a 100% renewable energy future

Published: 03/28/2022 14:09:36 Modified: 03/28/2022 14:08:40 Even hopeful people like me can look at the problems of the wo...



Published: 03/28/2022 14:09:36

Modified: 03/28/2022 14:08:40

Even hopeful people like me can look at the problems of the world and feel intimidated. And while at times the problems seem to grow more serious, it’s also true that solutions abound.

Take, for example, our dependence on polluting forms of energy, which create serious environmental and public health problems when these fuels are extracted, transported, burned and the waste products of this combustion disposed of.

Fortunately, solutions abound and the past two decades have seen clean energy grow in America. Today, more than 12% of our country’s energy comes from renewable sources and this amount is increasing every year. The sooner we stop relying on dirty and dangerous fossil fuels for energy, the sooner we will have cleaner air to breathe, cleaner water to drink, and a healthier, more stable future for our children.

Of course, renewable energy is not a panacea. All energy technologies have some impact. The shift to solar panels and electric vehicles with lithium-ion batteries will create new problems. We’re already seeing some of these issues emerge around mining for batteries, concerns about the placement of solar panels, and more.

But putting our society in a position to use energy from the sun and the wind instead of fossil fuels would solve the problems that have plagued us for decades. And, in the case of global warming, will have serious ramifications if we don’t reduce emissions very quickly.

Hurry up. This must be the decade of clean energy implementation. Now is the time to pull out all the stops to accelerate the widespread adoption of rooftop solar, offshore wind and other technologies that allow us to harness the power of the wind and the sun to power our lives.

To that end, I invite you to join me in supporting public policies that, if enacted, would move Massachusetts and America toward a future powered by clean energy resources that never run out.

Support the 100% Clean Act.

Setting goals is a powerful tool for launching a collective enterprise. The 100% Clean Act (HD.3551, SD.2205) would codify a statewide goal for Massachusetts to move to 100% clean electricity by 2035 and 100% clean heating and transportation by 2045. It sets out clear requirements and actions for the Commonwealth to achieve these goals. I am grateful that Rep. Mindy Domb and Senator Jo Comerford co-sponsored this bill, and I hope they will do all they can to see it passed into law.

■Support federal tax incentives for clean energy.

Tax incentives are a proven tool for clean energy growth. When my family chose to go solar a few years ago, knowing that 30% of the initial cost would be a tax deduction made a big difference in motivating us to invest the rest. And we’re not alone – much of the clean energy growth we’ve seen over the past decade can be attributed to these policies. The House of Representatives has already voted to extend clean energy tax credits and it is time for the Senate to do the same.

Support the electrification of buildings. Electrifying the places where we live and work is an important step on America’s path to re-energizing society with clean, renewable energy. The burning of fossil fuels in residential and commercial buildings is responsible for almost 30% of our country’s global warming pollution and research is showing more and more that the use of fossil fuels in appliances like Gas stoves can cause dangerous levels of indoor air pollution. Switching to clean, efficient and all-electric technologies will lead to cleaner air and a more livable climate.

Rewiring America recently released a guide called “Electrify Everything in Your Home” which can be downloaded for free from the Rewiring America website. This guide walks readers through the options they have when considering replacing fossil fuel-powered appliances with electric ones, how to get started, questions to ask contractors, and more.

Meanwhile, a new guide from my organization, Environment America, published in partnership with US PIRG, titled “Ten Ways Your Community Can Go All-Electric” offers starting points for local elected officials and community members who want to make evolve their community towards all-electric buildings.

You can also urge your members of Congress to support the Zero Emission Homes Act, which would establish a federal rebate program for electrical appliances and other equipment. Rebate programs can have a huge impact by reducing some of the upfront costs that can be a barrier to electrification.

In a time when it can be easy to see all that is wrong with the world, it is important to recognize that many problems have solutions. And when it comes to fighting climate change, reducing air pollution, water pollution, gas leaks or explosions, or becoming more locally self-sufficient, switching to 100% energy renewable energy is a solution that we can all help to put in place.

Johanna Neumann, of Amherst, has spent the past two decades protecting our air, water, and open spaces, championing consumers in the marketplace, and advancing a more sustainable economy and democratic society. She can be contacted at columnists@gazettenet.com.



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Newsrust - US Top News: How to build a 100% renewable energy future
How to build a 100% renewable energy future
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