A new study suggests it’s entirely possible for the U.S. to run on 100% renewable energy in just 35 years. The radical plan outlines what each state needs to do to achieve this ambitious goal. What’s the main barrier to making this happen? Political willpower.
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Mark Z. Jacobson, from Stanford University, and his research team outlined the changes in infrastructure and energy consumption that each state has to undergo to achieve this transition to clean energy. Jacobson points out in a statement that it’s “technologically and economically” possible to successfully achieve this “large scale transformation.” Researchers have even created an interactive map that showcases their plans.
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Researchers then calculated the demand for fuel if it was all replaced with electricity. While running literally everything, including cars and home heating, on electricity seems like a daunting task, researchers suggest there would be significant energy savings in using this electric grid.
Jacobson and his team looked carefully at how each state can power this electric grid. For some states, solar was the clear answer, while wind power or geothermal energy makes more sense for others. Overall, researchers looked at how wind, solar, geothermal, hydroelectric, and even small amounts of tidal and wave, could contribute to the energy demands.
Using this information, researchers laid out a clear plan for each state to make an 80% transition to renewable energy by 2030, and reach 100% by 2050. The transition is going to be much more achievable for some states than others. Washington, for example, already powers up 70% of electricity from existing hydroelectric sources, and both Iowa and South Dakota generate 30% of their electricity from wind power.
Researchers admit that the initial cost for this transformation would be pretty high, but suggest that over time the overall price would roughly equal the cost to the current fossil fuel infrastructure.