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Visualizing Clean Energy and Emissions Goals by State

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The following content is sponsored by the National Public Utilities Council

Visualized: Clean Energy and Emissions Goals by State

In its Nationally Determined Contribution to the Paris Agreement, the U.S. set a target of reducing its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 50-52% below 2005 levels by 2030, as well as achieving 100% carbon-free electricity by 2035.

To discover how each state is contributing to these goals, this graphic sponsored by the National Public Utilities Council provides an overview of each state’s ultimate clean energy or GHG emission reduction goal.

Varying Commitments

An analysis of the aggregated data by S&P Commodity Insights reveals a broad spectrum of clean energy and emission reduction goals in the United States.

While some states have more ambitious goals of attaining 100% clean energy by 2040, others, such as Ohio, have opted for more modest and short-term targets, aiming to achieve 8.5% renewable electricity by 2026.

Eleven states, or 22%, have never set clean energy or emission reduction goals. These states include Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, and West Virginia.

Similarly, another ten states (20%) have expired goals with target dates as far back as 2015. These ten states, including the Dakotas, Missouri, Kansas, Montana, and Oklahoma, have not reset their goals since.

Shares of Clean Energy by State

To get a glimpse into how far each state has to go in achieving its goal, a snapshot of the use of clean electricity in each state is shown below.

Using data from the Nuclear Energy Insitute, the bars show each state’s 2021 share of emission-free electricity broken down by nuclear and various renewables.

While clean electricity made up 70% or more of the electricity mix in several states, nuclear and renewable energy sources comprised approximately 40% of total U.S. electricity generation in 2021.

To hit its 100% carbon-free electricity goal, therefore, the U.S. needs a minimum 4.3% annual increase in clean electricity generation through 2035. For context, an average annual growth of 2.4% was observed in the last five years.

On the GHG reduction side of things, emissions were 17% below 2005 levels in 2021, showing the need for an additional 35% reduction by 2030.

As these figures show, achieving the ambitious clean energy and emissions reduction goals in the U.S. will require a significant ramp-up of clean electricity generation in the upcoming years, along with accelerated decarbonization efforts across all sectors.

Click here to learn more about how electric utilities and the power sector can lead on the path toward decarbonization.

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Clean Energy

3 Learnings for Scaling Up Wind and Solar Power

Streamlining processes, investing in infrastructure, and promoting local manufacturing can pave the way for wind and solar adoption.

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An infographic showing how streamlining processes, investing in infrastructure, and promoting local manufacturing can pave the way for wind and solar adoption

3 Learnings for Wind and Solar Power Scale-Up

To keep the increase in global temperatures to 1.5°C, the International Energy Agency (IEA) states that the world must triple its renewable power capacity by 2030.

However, swift and widespread adoption depends on the removal of various bottlenecks in project pipelines worldwide.

We’ve partnered with the National Public Utilities Council to visualize data from the IEA and the Energy Transitions Commission to highlight three areas of improvement, critical to the rapid adoption of renewables.

1. Planning and Permitting

Currently, regulatory and administrative barriers lead to lengthy project timelines worldwide.

A wind project, for example, can take 10–12 years of development, while solar projects can take four years.

The Energy Transitions Commission suggests a faster process, including quicker site mapping, permit applications, and environmental surveys.

Policymakers can help reduce project timelines by allocating land for renewables, setting permit targets, and digitalizing the permit application process. As a result, the development time for wind projects could be reduced to 4.5–5.5 years, and solar projects could be online in one year.

2. Grid Availability for Solar and Wind 

Connecting renewable energy projects to the grid has posed a challenge.

As of 2023, almost 1,500 gigawatts (GW) of wind and solar projects in advanced stages of development were still off the electricity grid. 

Excluding China and India, transmission and distribution investments have increased by only 1% annually since 2010. According to the IEA, however, government and stakeholder investment in grids must double to over $600 billion annually to meet climate targets.

3. Supply Chain Diversification

The final area for improvement, when it comes to expediting global wind and solar power scale-up, is supply chain diversification.

Currently, China heavily concentrates the global manufacturing capacity on clean energy, leading to a heavy dependency on imports for the rest of the world.

Share of Manufacturing Capacity, 2021Wind (Onshore)Wind (Offshore)Solar PV
China59%70%85%
Europe16%26%2%
North America10%0%1%
Asia Pacific9%4%11%
Central & South America5%0%0%
Africa0%0%0%
Eurasia0%0%0%
Middle East0%0%0%

Global manufacturing capacity share is calculated by averaging the global manufacturing shares of individual components (i.e., wind: tower, nacelle, blade; solar: wafers, cells, modules). Percentages may not add up to 100 due to rounding.

According to research by ONYX Insight, almost 60% of wind farm operators reported that supply chain issues were their biggest challenge over the next 2–3 years.

International collaboration and investment, however, can help diversify manufacturing outside of China. In addition, policymakers can also implement policies and incentives that encourage the growth of local manufacturing capacity for renewables. 

All in all, streamlining processes, investing in infrastructure, and promoting local manufacturing can pave the way for a cleaner, more sustainable energy future.

Download the 2023 Decarbonization Report.

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Clean Energy

Visualizing All the Nuclear Waste in the World

Despite concerns about nuclear waste, high-level radioactive waste constitutes less than 0.25% of all radioactive waste ever generated.

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Graphic cubes illustrating the global volume of nuclear waste and its disposal methods.

Visualizing All the Nuclear Waste in the World

Nuclear power is among the safest and cleanest sources of electricity, making it a critical part of the clean energy transition.

However, nuclear waste, an inevitable byproduct, is often misunderstood.

In collaboration with the National Public Utilities Council, this graphic shows the volume of all existing nuclear waste, categorized by its level of hazardousness and disposal requirements, based on data from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Storage and Disposal

Nuclear provides about 10% of global electricity generation.

Nuclear waste, produced as a result of this, can be divided into four different types:

  • Very low-level waste: Waste suitable for near-surface landfills, requiring lower containment and isolation.
  • Low-level waste: Waste needing robust containment for up to a few hundred years, suitable for disposal in engineered near-surface facilities.
  • Intermediate-level waste: Waste that requires a greater degree of containment and isolation than that provided by near-surface disposal.
  • High-level waste: Waste is disposed of in deep, stable geological formations, typically several hundred meters below the surface.

Despite safety concerns, high-level radioactive waste constitutes less than 0.25% of total radioactive waste reported to the IAEA.

Waste ClassDisposed (cubic meters)Stored (cubic meters)Total (cubic meters)
Very low-level waste758,802313,8821,072,684
Low-level waste1,825,558204,8582,030,416
Intermediate level waste671,097201,893872,990
High-level waste3,9605,3239,283

Stored and disposed radioactive waste reported to the IAEA under the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management. Data is from the last reporting year which varies by reporting country, 2019-2023.

The amount of waste produced by the nuclear power industry is small compared to other industrial activities.

While flammable liquids comprise 82% of the hazardous materials shipped annually in the U.S., radioactive waste accounts for only 0.01%.

Learn how the National Public Utilities Council is working towards the future of sustainable electricity.

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