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It’s Back to the Future for Zero-Carbon Energy in the US

Historical data shows the share of carbon-free sources in the country’s energy mix hasn’t been this high since the turn of the 20th century. 

Photovoltaic panels at a solar farm in Calipatria, California.

Photovoltaic panels at a solar farm in Calipatria, California.

Photographer: Bing Guan/Bloomberg

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I like a deep data set, and in energy there are few deeper than the US government’s on national energy consumption. The Energy Information Administration has data on (really, informed estimates of) US energy consumption going back to 1635. Looking that far back is entertaining, but it does not offer a lot of insight. Basically, the numbers show we burned wood for energy for quite some time.