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U.S. renewable energy surges to historic levels

Staff writer |
America's reliance on wind, solar and other renewable sources of energy has reached historic levels and is poised to make even greater gains in the near future, according to a report by the Natural Resources Defense Council.

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NRDC's Third Annual Energy Report, "A Tectonic Shift in America's Energy Landscape," found that the energy sector in the United States emitted less dangerous carbon pollution last year than in 1996, with a full 10 percent reduction over the past decade.

Meanwhile, coal and electricity consumption are down nationwide, while oil use today is lower than in the early 1970s, the report shows.

Sierra Martinez, report co-author and NRDC's California Energy Project legal director, said the report shows the United States was relying on an unprecedented amount of renewable energy by the end of 2014.

"The amount of renewable energy from wind turbines, solar panels, and other technologies now equals roughly 10 percent of the nation's energy use," Martinez said.

"That's like powering the world's largest economy for more than a month without using any pollution-spewing coal, oil, or natural gas, and without additional harm to our lands, waters, and wildlife that is associated with extracting fossil fuels."

The report also notes the country is already two-thirds of the way toward meeting President Barack Obama's goal of cutting 3 billion tons of carbon pollution by 2030 through his administration's efficiency standards for appliances and federal buildings.

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