The use of solar energy, a clean, renewable, and free energy source, is not widely used in areas where it would be ideal. For example, Vermonts climate is cloudy and not particularly warm, whereas Florida has the nickname the Sunshine State.
Research solar energy use in Vermont and Florida, or in other states in the U.S., and comment on the policy issues that are either promoting or discouraging the use of clean, renewable energy.
The global scope of climate change and health, environmental, and other challenges linked with fossil fuel dependence necessitate major action. Vermont adopted in its 2011 Comprehensive Energy Plan the objective of obtaining 90% of its renewable energy sources by 2050 to satisfy the statutory target of reducing carbon levels by 50% from a 1990 baseline by 2028 and by 75% by 2050. Vermont’s goals fit the global challenge (Stephens et al., 2018). Vermont needs strong, effective policies that match its legislative ambitions. To respond appropriately, Vermont’s policy interventions must be early, robust, and sufficient to match the scale and complexity of the problems ahead. The case in other states is slightly different. For instance, in 2020, renewable resources generated around 5% of Florida’s in-state electricity net generation, and almost two-thirds of that was solar (Miller & Carriveau, 2018. Florida surpassed Arizona in solar power generation capacity in 2020, behind California, Texas, and North Carolina. 85% of the state’s solar energy is from utility-scale (1 MW+) installations. Small-scale installs (less than 1 megawatt) virtually tripled through 2018 and 2020 as state prohibitions on leased solar systems were lifted (Miller & Carriveau, 2018). Florida is one of four states with utility-scale solar thermal electricity generating, which concentrates sunlight to produce high temperatures to power turbines. Cont…
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