Scientists have warned of irreversible damage to the planet if global warming is not stopped quickly enough.The prospect of avoiding that dark fate is not entirely gloomy.
A new study reveals that clean energy could account for as much as 90% of electricity generation in the United States in the relatively short span of 15 years.
The “2035 Report: Plummeting Solar, Wind, and Battery Costs Can Accelerate Our Clean Energy Future” was published by the UC Berkeley Center for Environmental Public Policy with GridLab and Energy Innovation, two research and analysis collaborators.
The study relies on recent cost declines for solar, wind and battery storage to demonstrate how the United States can dramatically reduce generation and emissions from existing fossil power plants.
Dr. Amol Phadke, senior scientist and affiliate at UC Berkeley’s Center for Environmental Public Policy, explained that cost reductions in clean technology have occurred “much faster” than anticipated just a few years ago. This rapid price decline, he says, has made it “technically and economically feasible” to accelerate the generation of clean energy in the United States, making it possible for 90% of electricity to be generated by clean power by the year 2035.
While the report presents an optimistic scenario in which the United States can make great strides toward achieving its goals for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, it won’t be accomplished without support from policy makers. With that in mind, the report includes several policy recommendations. Its primary recommendation is for the United States to establish a national, technology-neutral standard of 90% clean energy by 2035 and 100% by 2045.
The report projects the rapid buildout of additional renewable energy to inject $1.7 trillion of investment into the economy and increase energy sector jobs by up to 530,000 per year through 2035.
The report also notes that the target year 2035 is significant because it is about 15 years sooner than projected by most state and national policy proposals.