Report: Renewables Can Supply All Of USA Power Needs

Academic experts and clean energy advocates claim the transition to 100% clean energy is necessary and feasible. Currently, wind, solar and other renewable energy sources make up about 10% of the nation’s electricity supply. David Freeman, author of All-Electric America and former public utility CEO, claims that studies carried out by his colleagues are beyond any reasonable doubt; they “have exhaustively proven, in infinite detail, that we can put together an electric power supply that’s all renewable.”

The white paper, We Have the Power: 100 Percent Renewable Energy for a Clean, Thriving America, co-authored by Freeman and other experts, lays out the reasons and means to alter the nation’s energy supply entirely to renewable energies. It examines the fall in wind and solar costs and the fact that solar growth has exceeded energy advocates’ expectations.

Rob Sargent, energy program director at Environment America and co-author of the report, stresses that there is a strong public support for clean energy. “We can have healthier and more economically vibrant communities right now, and a livable future for our kids,” says Sargent. “But to get there, we need to transform the way we produce and consume energy. The good news is that 100% renewable is 100% possible.”

The United States has the technical potential to achieve its electricity needs more than 100 times over with solar energy and more than 10 times over with wind energy. To date, seven detailed studies on clean energy systems have showed that there are no obstacles in achieving a move to 100% renewable energy; it is entirely possible to make a complete transition at a cost that would be comparable or less than is currently spent on dirty energy.

Mark Jacobson, a Stanford University engineering professor and author of several studies, believes that there is “very little downside to the transition”. “We think this is a winning situation for everyone in the long term.” Across the United States, dozens of cities are well on their way to achieving 100% clean energy. Georgetown, Texas is already 90% powered by wind power and will get a further 10% from solar power by 2017. Georgetown Mayor, Dale Ross, maintains that the decision was primarily a business decision with a focus on cost certainty, however “We’re also just doing what’s best for our citizens. Don’t we have a moral and ethical obligation to leave the planet in a better condition than we found it?”

In Paris, December 2015, the world’s nations made a commitment to protect our climate; they pledged “to limit temperature increase to 1.5° C above pre-industrial levels.” Moving to 100 percent clean energy is critical to fulfilling the agreement. Freeman maintains “that we have to reduce greenhouse gasses to near zero in the next 35 years, or we’re going to cook.” He insists that “This is no longer something that we ought to do, or should do, it’s something we’ve got to do.”

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