It won’t be cheap, or easy. But it’s technically feasible for the United States to get 80 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2050, according to a new report from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. And no major breakthroughs are needed to do it—the report considered only currently commercially available technologies, says Ryan Wiser, one of the authors. (We consider how Germany might reach a similar goal in our feature, The Great German Energy Experiment.)
The massive, 850-page, four-volume, NREL report isn’t a prediction of how much renewable energy will actually be used—that depends on lots of variables. Instead, it looks at whether it’s technically feasible for the United States to run its economy on renewable sources, many of which—such as wind and solar—are intermittent and difficult to predict. Its answer is yes, the authors say. And the main reason is that the United States is a large country, with large and varied sources of renewable energy. (The report assumed that 50 percent of the country’s power would come from wind and solar. The rest would come from sources such as biomass and hydroelectric and conventional geothermal, which are not as variable. Here’s an interactive breakdown of how the mix of power sources could develop.)
via The U.S. Could Run on 80-Percent Renewable Electricity by 2050 – Technology Review.
Categories: Electricity, Energy, Transportation