While Red states have long been painted as the villains in the climate story, Red states are actually taking a noticeable lead in solar and wind production. Red states such as Iowa and Oklahoma led the nation in wind power production, while California and Florida were the largest producers of solar power. Texas emerged as a leader in both solar and wind power.
The Biden administration aims to decarbonize the grid completely by 2030 and achieve net-zero emissions by mid-century. And while Jennifer Brady, a senior data analyst at Climate Central, suggests that we are moving closer to these goals and have a free natural resource in the form of weather that can be captured to generate power, are we really ready for that? Building more transmission lines remains the biggest step to increase wind and solar capacity since the current grid cannot handle all the renewable energy that already exists in Texas.
Experts agree that transmission lines are extremely important since wind turbines and solar farms are generally built in rural areas far from where the highest electricity needs are. Despite the Inflation Reduction Act including $2 billion for transmission facility financing, the backlog of wind and solar projects is delaying the switch to renewables. As a result, some states and local municipalities are implementing microgrids to protect against regional grid outages that have occurred with increasing frequency due to weather disasters and aging infrastructure.
The report’s findings demonstrate that state and federal incentives are effective in promoting renewable energy generation. Additionally, it is noteworthy that red states lead the nation in renewable energy production, indicating that climate action is not necessarily stymied at the local and federal levels by Republican leaders.