The United States officially produced more power from wind and solar than nuclear for the first time. In April of this year, sustainable wind and solar energy sources produced 17.96 percent more electricity than nuclear power plants, setting a record in the U.S.

Source: CNBC/Youtube

The surge in the wind and solar-generated electricity means that clean energy, which also includes geothermal, hydroelectric, and biomass energy makes up almost 30 percent of the total electricity in the U.S., according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). This is a huge leap from 2021 when clean energy only made up around 20 percent of the total electricity across the country.

Burning fossil fuels like oil and gas is one of the leading causes of climate change. When burned, fossil fuels release carbon dioxide, which is then trapped in the atmosphere and in turn, traps heat in the atmosphere. This leads to climate change that causes extreme weather, including droughts, heat waves, and wildfires.

Although nuclear energy does not produce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, the nuclear waste that is produced in the process is incredibly dangerous. Nuclear power plants are also dangerous as they can malfunction and cause a mass catastrophe like the 1986 Chornobyl nuclear power plant disaster. Many nuclear power plants still dump radioactive wastewater into the sea despite pushback.

According to The International Energy Agency (IEA), to hit net zero by 2050 per the Paris Agreement, global wind and solar energy need to make up 20 percent of total electricity by 2025 and 70 percent by 2050.

Projects worldwide are developing new ways to utilize solar panels and move away from dirty fossil fuels. Architecture students in Barcelona just built a solar-powered greenhouse that uses 50 percent less energy than it produces. Virginia is transforming abandoned coal mines into solar farms, and a start-up is helping retrofit old buildings in Brooklyn to use clean energy. The latest climate report from the IPCC is a final warning for governments around the world about global warming, so it’s great to see companies taking the initiative and working towards a renewable future!

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