The sector now employs 415,000 people and has invested US$334bn in the US economy since 2005 with more growth coming, said the American Clean Power Association (ACPA).
The association has released its first annual report on clean power. The report showed that wind, utility solar and battery storage power capacity in the USA has topped 170GW, following a record 26GW of clean energy projects coming online in 2020.
“The energy transition is well under way as we aim to meet important climate targets and create good-paying American jobs,” said Heather Zichal, CEO of the American Clean Power Association. “The clean power industry is helping to rebuild the US economy while combating the climate crisis. We hope this report can be a tool and resource as our industry drives innovation and job creating investments in every American state.”
The rapid pace of new power installations included 16,836MW of land-based wind, representing 50% of new additions; 8,894MW of utility-scale solar projects, capturing 26% of the market; and 760MW of battery storage capacity. Combined wind, solar, and battery storage power represent 78% of new power installations in 2020.
For comparison in 2010, just 28% of new power installations were wind, solar and battery storage. ACPA said that the amount of new wind capacity in 2020 is more than three times the amount installed in 2010 and the amount of solar installed in 2020 is almost 4,000% higher than was installed in 2010, reflecting how cost declines and the growth in the industry have made wind and solar power competitive energy sources. Battery storage installed in 2010 amounted to only 4MW.
Clean power technologies now deliver 10.7% of the nation’s electricity, and the current operational capacity of utility wind and solar can power the equivalent of more than 50 million homes.