Superpower: How Renewables are Transforming America’s Energy Future

What’s new in renewable energy? In April, 23 percent of America’s electricity came from renewables, surpassing coal for the first time. Ten states, and Puerto Rico and Washington DC, have policies in place to run on 100 percent clean power in coming decades. Achieving that presents a host of challenges, from updating an aging electricity grid to financing energy innovation to figuring out how to transport and store the renewable power. Fortunately, says author Russell Gold, we have the talent to take those challenges on. “There's a lot of creativity in the space right now,” says Gold. “There's creativity on reducing demand, there's creativity in how we aggregate solar… and frankly, given what's going on with the climate, we sort of need to be trying them all -- simultaneously.” And if we succeed, we stand to gain a lot more than just cleaner air, a stable planet and lower electricity bills. We also open the door to a wealth of employment opportunities. Bloomberg’s Lynn Doan says this is the perfect time to diversify a sector that has been traditionally dominated by white males – what she calls the industry’s “dirty little secret.” “The renewable energy industry is creating more jobs than any other industry in the United States,” says Doan. “The solar technician and wind technician jobs -- those are the two fastest-growing professions in the U.S. today. So if women and minorities are missing out on this renewable energy industry opportunity, then they’re being left out of the biggest job boom that America has to offer today.” Something else to look forward to? The end of the gas-guzzler. Jigar Shah, co-host of The Energy Gang podcast, says drivers won’t miss having to stop to fill up their tank. “It’s not like an enjoyable experience; it’s a necessary evil for what they need for mobility,” he tells the audience. “And I think people are starting to realize now that with these 200-plus mile range electric vehicles, you really can go across the country.” Guests: Russell Gold, Reporter, the Wall Street Journal; Author, Superpower: One Man's Quest to Transform American Energy (Simon & Schuster, 2019) Jigar Shah, Founder, SunEdison; Co-Host, The Energy Gang podcast Lynn Doan, Team Leader, Power and Gas-Americas, Bloomberg News This program was recorded in front of a live audience at The Commonwealth Club of California in San Francisco on August 5, 2019. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

by Climate One