View of several wind turbines on a West Virginia ridge top.
West Virginia wind farm Wind farm turbines situated on a ridge top in the Appalachian mountains of West Virginia. © Kent Mason

Climate Change Stories

Choosing Clean Energy

Choosing Clean Energy focuses on the power of innovation and the innovations that will power our future.

Cars parked under the shade of solar panels.
The Choice The U.S. has an opportunity to find new innovations and new paths for providing clean, renewable energy. © Dave Lauridsen

About Us

CHOOSING CLEAN ENERGY highlights how the clean, renewable energy revolution is unfolding across the United States. It promotes the positive economic and health benefits of cleaner, low-carbon energy technology in the United States. The electric power industry is in a state of rapid transformation, and in the next decade we will see a reinvention of how we generate, store, transmit and use electric power. 

Choosing Clean Energy focuses on the power of innovation and the innovations that will power our future. Many of the solutions we need to address the conservation challenges of our time also offer the opportunity for more jobs, more consumer choice, lower costs, cleaner air and water, better soil quality and better health. We no longer need to choose between abundant energy and a cleaner environment. With careful planning, we can have both.

A worker installs solar panels to capture renewable energy.
SOLAR POWER Deploying renewable energy to tackle climate change. © Eric Aldrich/TNC

Renewables and Storage

For years, because the sun didn’t always shine, wind didn’t always blow, and coal and natural gas were so much cheaper and produced reliable power, renewables had little market traction. But the times have changed and the technology has advanced. Solar panels now produce more energy more efficiently. Wind turbines have grown in size and produce more energy. Battery technology has advanced to the point where renewable installations that utilize solar-plus storage or wind-plus storage can bring electric power to the marketplace at costs that rival or even beat the cost of fossil fuels, even natural gas. A renewable energy future is possible right now.

Little Fish Brewery Jimmy Stockwell, co-founder of Little Fish Brewing Company of Athens, Ohio, says utilizing wind and solar power is good for his brand and his bottom line.
Flintrock Advancing Clean Energy on a Pennsylvania chicken farm.

Creating Clean Energy Jobs

All this new technology is not only bringing cleaner energy and cheaper energy, it’s creating jobs. The fastest growing professions in the US are solar installer and wind turbine technician. And these are jobs that cannot be outsourced. Careful consideration of appropriate siting of these new renewable energy installations is also part of the revolution that’s happening. Smart siting techniques are bringing energy facilities online with better understanding of how to minimize impacts to wildlife and ecosystems

Lockwood Lawns Clean energy brings an innovative business opportunity.

Smart Grid Modernization

A Modernized Electrical Grid The electrical grid in the United States is outdated--causing 20 times more brownouts and blackouts than its economic competitors and costing Americans $150 billion yearly. A modernized grid would change that.

To reach a clean energy future, we need to upgrade our electric grid. As the nation’s power grid seeks to add new services and more clean energy, we’ll need new technologies to efficiently direct power from where it’s generated to where it’s being used. Consumers are also being offered new technologies—smart thermostats, solar panels, electric vehicles and energy storage —that also make a modern grid necessary.

Encouraging Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency is by far the easiest way to make a positive impact on our communities, our wallets and our planet. If we use less energy, we burn less fuel, and we need less energy production. By using less energy, imports of oil and natural gas also decline so that our economy can be more secure. Energy efficiency also lowers greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. Learn more about all the ways people are reducing the amount of carbon pollution they create by being more efficient in how they use energy.

Hypertherm uses efficiency to save on bottom line. In New Hampshire, Hypertherm strives to find opportunities to make their operations more efficient, wherever possible, saving millions of dollars along the way. Watch this video to see their energy story.
NH Ski Slope & Resort Saves Big with Clean Energy A New Hampshire ski area benefits from the investments in energy efficiency. Incentive programs made some of these investments feasible. Ben Wilcox, President and General Manager of Cranmore Mountain Resort, shares insights about the state's energy future.
An aerial view of street scene with cars at an intersection.
Technological advances can revolutionize the clean transportation industry.

Clean Transportation

Americans love their cars, and in the United States, the transportation sector is the largest source of carbon pollution. Transitioning America’s fleet of over 276 million registered vehicles from gas to electric, and eliminating the millions of tons of carbon emissions from that fleet is a monumental task. And while the technology to make an electric-powered automobile has existed in theory for decades, it has only been in the past few years that we’re seeing electric vehicles being offered on the market that may serve as a true alternative to a car with a gas-powered engine. 

Electric cars and trucks are popular, and fascinate the public. That said, we’re a long way away from making electric vehicles America’s first choice in transportation, and from having the infrastructure necessary to support a fully electrified fleet of cars, trucks and other vehicles. 

Carbon Pricing

Few would argue that pollution ought to be cost-free. And we have seen that when goods and services reflect the cost of pollution, consumers demand cleaner products.  Where demand exists, innovation follows.

Carbon pricing  puts the technology challenge on getting to a clean energy future where it should be—in the hands of innovators. Carbon pricing gives companies the opportunity to efficiently build these costs into a business plan and maximize economic growth. And it harnesses the power of the marketplace—both consumers and producers—to ensure that the cost of unlimited pollution is not shouldered by the most vulnerable.

The Market Choice Act, introduced in September 2019, is one recent example of federal legislation that sets a national price on carbon. The bipartisan act replaces the federal gas tax with a price on carbon of $35 per ton. Independent projections suggest the bill will reduce greenhouse gas pollution by 36% by 2025. The revenue collected would support development of carbon capture technology, spur deployment of natural climate solutions, kickstart renewable energy deployment, and provide significant investment in resilience against climate impacts.

Info-graphic: The Market Choice Act brings people together to address infrastructure backlog AND reduce carbon pollution.
MCA Collaboration The Market Choice Act brings people together to address infrastructure backlog AND reduce carbon pollution.
Info-graphic: The Market Choice Act closes shortfall from gas tax and generates additional investment for infrastructure.
MCA Gas Tax The Market Choice Act closes shortfall from gas tax and generates additional investment for infrastructure.
Info-graphic: The Market Choice Act creates funding for modern infrastructure by swapping gas tax for a price on carbon.
MCA Infrastructure The Market Choice Act creates funding for modern infrastructure by swapping gas tax for a price on carbon.
Info-graphic: The Market Choice Act supports workers and generates new jobs.
MCA Jobs The Market Choice Act supports workers and generates new jobs.
Info-graphic: The Market Choice Act - If market systems don't work EPA would retain authority to regulate.
MCA Market The Market Choice Act - If market systems don't work EPA would retain authority to regulate.

Read a statement about the Market Choice Act from TNC’s Vice President of Policy and Government Relations, Lynn Scarlett.

Two other pieces of pending legislation, introduced by Reps. Francis Rooney and Dan Lipinski in July 2019, would also set a national price on carbon. Both the  Stemming Warming and Augmenting Pay Act (SWAP Act), sponsored by Congressman Rooney and cosponsored by Congressman Lipinski, and the Raise Wages, Cut Carbon Act (RWCC Act), sponsored by Congressman Lipinski and cosponsored by Congressman Rooney, would establish a price on carbon and  harness private  market forces in identifying the least-cost, greatest-impact ways to reduce carbon pollution. Read our statement about these bills.

A worker installs solar panels to capture renewable energy.
Rooftop solar panels. Workers installing solar panels on a residential homes roof. © Power of Forever Photography

See Our Work by State

Ohio

Choosing Clean Energy in Ohio promotes the positive economic and health benefits of cleaner, low-carbon energy technology. Ohio has the opportunity to reinvent how we generate, transport and use our electric power.

Pennsylvania

Advancing Clean Energy in Pennsylvania is an online community working to change the conversation surrounding clean energy, energy efficiency, and clean transportation. We work to highlight the role these opportunities can play in transforming local Pennsylvania economies and communities.