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Clean Energy By the Numbers

The numbers show the truth. Leaders from all sectors, all levels of government, and all around the world are committing to remain all-in on clean energy.

Today, leaders from all sectors, all levels of government, and all around the world, gathered in San Francisco for the seventh-annual Clean Energy Ministerial – and first-ever Mission Innovation Ministerial – to take stock of how far we’ve come and commit to remaining all-in on clean energy.  This all-in approach, powered by partnership, innovation, and investment, has already led to irreversible momentum; our gathering’s goal is simply to accelerate the pace of progress. 

Here are some numbers that show how far we’ve come and why the Administration is optimistic about getting where we’re going – even faster:

  • $329 billion. That’s the amount invested globally in clean energy just last year. It's not a surprising result that – for the first time – the majority of new power capacity added globally was clean power that zero carbon pollution. And this isn't just because clean energy is gaining traction in places like the United States; more than half of this investment went to emerging markets.
  • 90, 70, 60, and 40. This represents the number of percentage points by which the costs of LED lighting, electric vehicle battery, solar photovoltaic, and wind technologies, respectively, have fallen since 2008. Falling prices are increasing adoption of these technologies; in 2014, for example, total U.S. installations of home LED bulbs, which use 85 percent less energy than incandescent light bulbs, grew to 78 million from less than half a million in 2009.
  • Millions are the number of individuals employed by the global clean energy economy. In the United States alone, for example, 1.9 million Americans are employed in energy efficiency -- helping our economy cut pollution and energy waste.
  • 30. That’s the number of times that the International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates solar generation will increase by 2030, when all countries fully implement the nationally determined contributions (NDCs) announced in Paris. IEA also projects a seven-times increase for wind generation during the same period as well as dramatic cost reductions. 
  • $1.5 billion is the amount of investment that 21 countries, the European Union, nearly 60 companies and organizations, and 10 subnational governments made as part of the Clean Energy Ministerial today to accelerate the deployment of clean energy and increase energy access, including three new, high-impact campaigns: corporate sourcing of renewables, commercial and industrial efficiency, and advanced cooling technologies.
  • is the number of years it will take to double U.S. public investment in clean energy research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) as part of Mission Innovation. It's a goal forged globally in December and reflected nationally in President Obama's Budget in February.
  • 90. This is the number of U.S. Senators who voted for an energy appropriations bill that included a reaffirmation of the strong bipartisan support for Mission Innovation's goals and the 5-year path for doubling our investment in clean energy RD&D. This builds on an end-of-year budget deal in 2015 that very significantly increased clean energy RD&D by nearly half a billion dollars and also extended clean energy tax credits, which are projected to spur about 100 gigawatts of renewables deployment.
  • 21. That’s the number of global partners who've signed on to Mission Innovation, including the United States and the European Union. Each of these partners issued their government's doubling plans today – setting a course to increase public investment in clean energy RD&D from $15 billion to $30 billion per year by 2021.
  • 80 (at least) is the percentage share of global public investment in clean energy RD&D represented by the Mission Innovation partners -- meaning these folks doubling their clean energy RD&D marks a significant pivot toward accelerating progress.

In less than a decade, investment in innovation dramatically drove down the price of clean energy and drove up investment and deployment – and more jobs. As we look to the next decade, we know we have an irreversible momentum at our backs – but we can and must do more to accelerate the pace of progress. That's our mission innovation – doubled public investment in clean energy RD&D across 21 global partners; strengthened private support, especially through the Breakthrough Energy Coalition; and bolstered leadership from all sectors and all levels of government. Today's gathering reinforced the realization that the most important number might be zero: It's the number of obstacles we can't overcome if we keep to our all-in approach; and it's how many backup planets we have, if we don't do everything we can to save this one.

Get the Numbers

John Morton is the Senior Director for Energy and Climate Change.

Ali Zaidi is the Associate Director for Natural Resources, Energy, and Science at the Office of Management and Budget.