Renewable Energy in 1970, Renewable Energy Now (Maps)

There's nothing like a nice 'before and after' image to help drive home a point. And in this case, the point is something like this: Even though it at times feels like it's moving much, much too slowly, the renewable energy revolution is well underway. Just take a look at these maps from Black & Veatch (via Grist), and observe how many renewable energy projects were installed or planned for imminent installation in 1970:

renewable energy in US 1970Black & Veatch/Promo image
Pretty vacant, right? (Click here for a larger image) Now, here's today:

renewable energy US 2011Black & Veatch/Promo image

Progress! (Larger image here) Now, there's a renewable energy project in literally every state in the nation. Hell, there looks to be a wind power project in every state in the nation. That's fantastic. But it also took us 40 years, and those icons you see on the map above only provide about 4% of the nation's electricity.

Of course, technology is rapidly improving, and the increasing efficiency of wind, and especially solar projects means they'll be producing more power for their buck and given area. So there's plenty of work left to do. But it is good indeed to have a powerful visual reminder that we're in the throes of progress, and that a debacle like Solyndra is a fluke, not the rule ... Onwards and upwards!

Renewable Energy in 1970, Renewable Energy Now (Maps)
These two maps offer a visual demonstration of the progress the United States has made in installing renewable energy projects since 1970.

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