The answer is yes, according to researchers and engineers from Stanford University and U.C. Berkeley, who have developed a state-by-state plan to convert the country to 100 percent renewable energy in less than 40 years.
Stanford researchers have a developed 50-state roadmap to a clean, renewable energy future.Photo Credit: Shutterstock
The study, published in the Energy and Environmental Sciences, showcases how each state can replace fossil fuels by tapping into renewable resources available in each state, such as wind, solar, geothermal, hydroelectric, and even small amounts of tidal and wave power.
The report, led by Stanford civil and environmental engineering professor Mark Z. Jacobson and U.C. Berkeley researcher Mark Delucchi, argues that converting the current energy infrastructure into renewable energy will help fight climate change, save lives by eliminating air pollution, create jobs and also stabilize energy prices.
You can check out an interactive map summarizing the plans for each state at The Solutions Project, an organization of scientists, business leaders and other forward-thinking minds with a mission of accelerating the world’s transition to 100 percent clean, renewable energy.
The project’s concept has attracted high-profile funders including the Elon Musk Foundation and Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, according to The Plaid Zebra.
The Elon Musk Foundation and Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation are helping to fund this project.
Board members of The Solutions Project include notable environmental advocates including filmmaker and founder of the the International WOW Company Josh Fox, co-founder and president of Mosaic Billy Parish, and actor and noted environmentalist Mark Ruffalo.
Undoubtedly, the plan involves a lot of difficult and expensive changes, but the authors believe that the complete transition to renewables is economically and technically viable.
“The main barriers are social, political and getting industries to change. One way to overcome the barriers is to inform people about what is possible,” Jacobson said. “By showing that it’s technologically and economically possible, this study could reduce the barriers to a large scale transformation.”
According to a news release, the study’s authors examined each state’s current energy usage in four sectors: residential, commercial, industrial and transportation. For each sector, they then analyzed the current amount and source of the fuel consumed—coal, oil, gas, nuclear and renewables—and calculated what the fuel demands would be if replaced with electricity. (This includes all the cars on the road becoming electric, as well as homes and businesses fully converting to electric heating and cooling systems). They then calculated how this new electric grid could be powered using only renewable energy resources available in each state.
“When we did this across all 50 states, we saw a 39 percent reduction in total end-use power demand by the year 2050,” Jacobson said. “About 6 percentage points of that is gained through efficiency improvements to infrastructure, but the bulk is the result of replacing current sources and uses of combustion energy with electricity.”
Check out South Carolina, for instance (you can see the infographics for the other 49 states here):
Not only is a fossil fuel-free South Carolina possible, doing so would create nearly 100,000 clean-energy jobs. Photo Credit: The Solutions Project
The good news is that several states are already on their way. For example, Washington state already meets 70 percent of its current electricity needs from existing hydroelectric sources.
Yes, the upfront cost of the massive conversion would be expensive, however the study’s authors argue it would even out over time and the environmental benefits are clear.
“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.”
Check out Jacobson’s 2013 appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman, where he explains his plan of transitioning the country to clean energy.
A list of Cuadrilla’s dismal track record. Courtesy of Frackoff EXTREME ENERGY ACTION NETWORK
Why we should be jumping for joy if Cuadrilla doesn’t frack the UK.
Fracking to go on trial in 2017 at international human rights tribunal; Will examine whether some countries breached basic human rights by allowing fracking.
UK: Lancashire Council Votes 9 to 5 Against Cuadrilla’s 2nd Frac Application! Deals Blow to Shale Industry, Big Blow to Industry’s Break the Law “Alberta Model” and Synergy Alberta Pimping AER’s Deregulation to Enable “Brute Force and Ignorance” on Defenceless Communities Everywhere
Anti-fracking protesters celebrate outside Lancashire County Hall after Cuadrilla’s fracking application is refused.
Cuadrilla is to appeal against Lancashire County Council’s decision to reject its two applications to frack for shale gas.
The gas exploration company announced this afternoon it was launching appeals against decisions relating to both Lancashire sites.It had applied to frack at Preston New Road, Little Plumpton, and at Roseacre Wood near Elswick.
County council officers had recommended that the Roseacre Wood bid should be dismissed mainly on traffic grounds, but said Preston New Road should be approved. But members of the development control committee threw out both applications at a marathon hearing last month.
Protesters were delighted – but fully expected Cuadrilla to appeal the decisions.The Government is fully behind a well-regulated and safe shale gas industry. But opponents say there could be pollution problems, possible earthquakes and traffic and noise near sites.
The anti-fracking movement scored a great victory when Lancashire councillors refused planning permission for two fracking wells, writes Damien Short. But dig deeper and the triumph was all the greater, as it overcame not just Cuadrilla, but a morass of pro-fracking bias and legal and scientific misrepresentation from those meant to be providing impartial advice.
Dr Damien Short is director of the Human Rights Consortium at the School of Advanced Study, University of London.
Modern oil and gas extraction no longer involves just a well, pump, and tank. The process can be so overwhelmingly complex that in lieu of taking a tour in person, it helps to explore each stage through photos.