In her book Braiding Sweetgrass, Native American author Robin Wall Kimmerer writes of the “Honorable Harvest” as a means of maintaining a habitable Earth for future generations. Discussing energy, she reflects that “[it] does not mean we can’t consume the energy we need, but it does mean that we honorably take only what is given. The wind blows every day, every day the sun shines, every day the waves roll against the shore, and the Earth is warm below us. We can understand these renewable sources of energy as given to us, since they are the sources that have powered life on the planet for as long as there has been a planet. We need not destroy the Earth to make use of them. Solar, wind, geothermal, and tidal energy – the so-called “clean energy” harvests – when they are wisely used, seem to me to be consistent with the ancient rules of the Honorable Harvest.”
In 2021, the U.S. installed record amounts of utility-scale solar (12.8 GW) and wind (10.8 GW). Based on this dramatic shift to renewable energy, a record eight states generated more than 30% of their in-state electricity from non-hydro renewable energy sources (solar, wind, and geothermal) in 2021. South Dakota joined low as states with the distinction of getting more than half of their in-state electricity from renewables, mainly wind. In California, solar (utility-scale and distributed] contributed 25% of the state’s total generation, with solar now competing with wind as a viable generation source for an increasing number of regions. On March 27, 2022, California obtained a full 93% of its grid electricity from renewables, with 69% coming from solar, based on 24-hour reporting from the California Independent System Operator (CAISO).