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The fuse is lit. The longer we wait to take decisive action to restore climate stability, the harder we’ll have to work to make sure we don’t pass a point of no return beyond which our efforts to stop frying and flooding the earth will be futile.

“Saving civilization is not a spectator sport.” Lester R. Brown

In the U.S., 2017 wind and solar additions, combined with increased hydropower generation, drove renewable generation up from 15% to 18% of the total electricity mix in one year.

Between 2008 and 2018, primary energy usage has shrunk 1.7% even as GDP has accelerated by 15.3%.



Incredibly, across the world, wind hit 370 gigawatts of power generating capacity in 2014, compared to roughly 50 GW in 2004; solar rose  to 178 GW. By comparison, coal-fired units at Colstrip, MT have a combined capacity of 2.3 gigawatts.

  1. Wave floods over road during hige tide on Funafuti, Tuvalu.
    A wave floods over a road during high tide on Funafuti, Tuvalu, the main island of a tiny atoll nation north of Fiji. There, rising sea levels combine with high tides to cause flooding on an island that is only 4M above sea level. Tides were over 3 meters Feb 7-10 2005. Conservative scientific estimates predict a 1 meter rise in sea levels within the life of our grandchildren. Photo used by permission of Gary Braasch. Click photo for more pictures like this.

    The 2015 Hawaiian Legislature set a 100% renewable energy goal by 2045–with only 1 vote against the measure in either house or senate. [1] Melting of glaciers on Greenland, Antarctica and elsewhere  will raise sea levels, reducing its coastline and that of other islands as is  as shown in the picture of Tuvlau.

  2. Uruguay’s electricity now 94.5% green.
  3. Costa Rica used only renewable energy for the first 75 days of 2015. It will be carbon-neutral by 2021. [2]
  4. Colorado’s largest utility, Xcel Energy, plans to be 80% carbon-emission free by 2030–ahead of the Montana I-187 RPS goal of 80% by 2034. Xcel will be 100% carbon-emission free by 2050 in all 8 states it serves. It inked deal to complete another 500 megawatt wind farm in northern Colorado by December 2020.
  5. If Montana’s industry is to compete with such countries, we’ll have to eliminate the cost of coal, natural gas, and oil from the way electricity is produced here.
  6. Link to where you can buy green power in Montana.
  7. Link to AERO Montana’s RePower MT, Community-scale Picture of RePower MT websiteRenewable Energy Projects & Resources in Montana Information.  Extending our RPS through this 80% by 2050 initiative and including more community-scale projects will encourage utilities to incentivize and be more supportive of such projects so the utility can claim the Renewable Energy Credit, as has occurred in Colorado.
  8.  Montana ski entrepreneur concerned about climate change. And Ski resort industry towns in Colorado and New Mexico are seeking action to eliminate the subsidies the coal industry receives in the form of cheap leases to mine on federal land. At least seven winter resorts in California and Oregon this winter -– including Mt. Baker, world-record-holder for most snowfall in a single year –- closed early due to lack of snow, a result of low precipitation and warm temperatures. In Utah, where license plates boast the “Greatest Snow on Earth,” resorts in Park City suffered their fifth straight year of below-average snow totals.[3a] [3b]
  9. LA and the State Utility of Nevada plan to be coal-free by 2025; and Denver will decrease its carbon footprint by 80% by 2050.
  10. Lesotho gets 100% of its electricity from a cascade of dams that have enough spare capacity to export power to South Africa.
  11. Iceland has tapped geothermal sources for 85% of its heating and – with the assistance of hydropower – 100% of its electricity.
  12. Paraguay has one huge hydropower dam at Itaipu, which supplies 90% of the country’s electricity.
  13. Bhutan’s abundant hydropower resources generate a surplus of electricity that accounts for more than 40% of the country’s export earnings.
  14. California is on track to meet or exceed its (Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006) target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. As part of this package, California is pursuing policies to increase the electricity derived from renewable resources to 50% by 2030; 60% of its electricity from carbon free sources by 2035 and to be 100% by 2045.
  • Watch a video of Alec Loorz, when he was 12 years old, putting up his SLAP (Sea Level Awareness Posts) on the beach in Ventura, California.

For more on this topic see Lester R. Brown’s book, Chapter 9, “The Accelerating Transition.” Among things you will find there are:

Walmart, America’s largest retailer, is also pressing ahead. By late 2014 it had installed roughly 260 solar power systems on its U.S. buildings, each one generating 10–30 percent of the facility’s electricity supply. The company’s goal is to install up to 400 more PV systems at its U.S. facilities over the next four years. In May 2014, CEO Bill Simon described Walmart’s move to go solar: “It’s a business decision. The renewable energy we buy meets or beats prices from the grid.” By taking its renewable energy and energy efficiency goals to its global operations, Walmart estimates that it will reap $1 billion per year in energy savings by 2020. [4]

Each quarter, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) releases a ranking of companies, schools, and municipalities using green power. In late 2014, the top five firms were Intel, Kohl’s Department Stores, Microsoft, Google, and Walmart. Intel, Kohl’s, Staples, and Unilever were among the 600 entities that generated or purchased enough electricity from renewable sources to satisfy all of their electricity needs. Apple was not far behind, at more than 90 percent. [5]

Wind can provide 1/3 of US electricity by 2050 while saving 260 billion gallons of water each year after 2050.
Please click on the photo to let us know that you will help save water by signing the 80% renewable electricity by 2034 petition when the paper version becomes available. (cc) Flickr via


This will link you to all reference notes in this “TRANSITION TO RENEWABLE ENERGY” page.

This page partially updated on 6/17/2019



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MTCares is a Montana nonprofit working to create a brighter and better future for all Montanans. 

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