A team of Stanford University researchers have generated a plan for converting existing US energy infrastructure to run entirely on renewable energy by 2050. The study illustrates how existing renewable technologies such as solar, wind and geothermal could realistically replace fossil fuels.
The complex study examined the current and future energy needs of every state for four main categories – residential, commercial, industrial and transportation. It then examined how all these energy needs could be met purely by using electricity and what renewables infrastructure would be needed to meet this.
Not only does converting to electricity allow full use of renewables but due to greater efficiency could produce an energy saving of 39% by 2050.
Some states are already well down the road of converting to renewables. Washington State produces 70 percent of its electricity from hydroelectric, and both Iowa and South Dakota use wind power for around 30 percent of their electricity needs.
The cost of conversion to all renewables would be substantial, but once established the electricity generated is almost free, returning invested capital over time. Other benefits would be less air and ground pollution, energy cost stability, energy independence and substantial new employment and business opportunities to replace those lost in the fossil fuel industries.
All that is needed now is the political will to execute the plan. A republican win in this year’s presidential election would see the plan thrown to the back of a very dark cupboard!