A Partial Answer Is Blowing in the Wind
Solar and wind farms have been spreading across landscapes, fueling a long-awaited rise in renewable energy production. Now, we are witnessing a surge on a new front: offshore wind. Globally, the offshore wind industry is projected to grow at 16 percent per year through 2030, which would constitute a sixfold increase from current capacity to 115 gigawatts. The cost of subsidizing offshore wind farms has fallen drastically in the United Kingdom, where it is now less than the cost of nuclear reactors. Denmark, long a pioneer in wind, obtained nearly half of its electricity from wind last year. And although the United States has often been a laggard, more than 25 offshore wind projects are in the works, with a combined capacity greater than global capacity right now. Still, while this is good news, there’s a long way to go to displace fossil fuels and nuclear power, which still account for over 70% of worldwide installed capacity of 6,200 gigawatts. Meanwhile, the construction of new fossil fuel infrastructure risks entrenching the unsustainable status quo. For a clean energy future, we’ll need at our back the powerful winds of technological innovation, progressive policy, and popular mobilization.