A group of researchers at Stanford University released a study showing that it is possible for the United States to have 100% clean and renewable energy – such as wind, water and sunlight. The group, led by civil and environmental engineering professor Mark Z. Jacobson, pointed out that up to 85% of the US energy demand could be met by clean sources by 2030, and a complete transition by 2050.
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Jacobson and his researchers considered a scenario in which all the cars in the US become electric and homes and industry would use only fully electric heating and cooling systems. It would be a significant change for such a large population, but considering the integration of existing technologies, it could be possible.
The study is the most detailed one ever conducted on the subject worldwide. The group did a thorough survey of the energy demand in each of the 50 states considering it’s consumption in all its sectors – residential, industrial, commercial and transportation – and showed all the different energy sources currently used. Finally they studied the ideal use of clean energy source for each state. If all the suggested changes were implemented in all states, the country’s energy sources would be as follows: 50% of energy could come from onshore and offshore wind farms, 45.2% from solar panels and the remaining 4.8% from ocean waves, hydroelectric and geothermal power plants.
The group believes that a complete change in the way energy is produced in the country would not only help to fight global warming, but also create new jobs and help to stabilize energy prices.
“When you account for the health and climate costs – as well as the rising price of fossil fuels – wind, water and solar are half the cost of conventional systems,” Jacobson said. “A conversion of this scale would also create jobs, stabilize fuel prices, reduce pollution-related health problems and eliminate emissions from the United States. There is very little downside to a conversion, at least based on this science.”