Rational Cause for Optimism

Renewable Energy Proves it Can Power the Grid

From our bird's-eye view of the renewable energy industry, we often see positive developments for humanity before they become common knowledge. The purpose of this blog is to highlight the clean energy innovations and sustainability actions that are legitimate cause for optimism despite the very real threats to people and the environment posed by climate damage.

Outbreaks of renewable energy supplying 100% of society’s electricity needs are becoming more common, illuminating the fact that we can eventually get by without burning finite, polluting, and expensive fossil fuels.

For the first time in history, solar electricity alone powered roughly 11,400 homes and businesses in northern Maine for about four hours per day from May 1-3, according to Versant, the local utility company. Solar arrays connected to the grid provided more electricity than was needed in the Fort Kent region, eliminating demand from gas-fired power plants and allowing the utility to export excess solar electricity to Canada.

The phenomenon of renewable energy supplanting fossil fuels is proliferating. On Sunday, May 12, the combined output of California’s wind, hydro, and solar power facilities exceeded the entire state’s electricity demand, generating 139% of demand. On April 11, solar arrays in California achieved a new record by providing 86.4% of the electricity needed by the world’s 5th largest economy.Mark Jacobson_graph_california.jpg

Six months ago, another record-breaking renewable energy event occurred in Portugal when the combined output of wind, hydro and solar power facilities generated 100% of the country’s electricity needs for six days straight from October 31 to November 6.

As renewable energy and battery storage technologies become cheaper and more efficient, countries around the world are discovering that it is more sustainable and cost-effective to move away from coal, oil and gas. Today 87 countries have surpassed the so-called 5% ‘tipping point’ of renewable energy adoption, leading them down the path to widespread adoption.


We think it’s rational cause for optimism that renewable energy and battery storage systems are scaling so quickly that utility companies around the world are having to manage an overabundance of wind, hydro and solar power. The good news is that the utilities are discovering that they can handle these intermittent challenges, and giving them confidence that eventually humankind can derive 100% of its energy from clean, infinite renewable resources paired with storage.