The end game of energy innovation has always been to end fossil fuel use. Questions remain about how long that will take and if the country can make a complete transformation.
A new report says that could be sooner rather than later.
The report asserts that to meet the challenges of climate change, the United States needs to move aggressively to become “almost wholly reliant on clean electricity.” It describes this scenario as a “maximum feasible transition.”
The report states that near total decarbonization is not only possible, but it can be done in the short span of 15 years. The missing ingredient is a strong commitment from the federal government.
Such a commitment would “be similar in size and scope to the mobilization of U.S. industry for World War II,” the report argues. It adds that “America has done this before, and we can do it again.”
According to the report’s models, the federal government would spend about $3 trillion over ten years to support the complete electrification of the economy. Such a transformation would involve a number of changes, including, but not limited to, the electrification of the industrial and commercial sectors, rapid build out of distributed energy like rooftop solar, upgrading the electric grid and greatly expanding generation resources.
The report adds that private capital will also play a large role in this investment.
The report also claims that such an aggressive move to decarbonize the economy would “create, rather than destroy, American jobs.” In fact, it finds that the transition would create up to 25 million well-paying American jobs over the same 15-year span. It states these jobs would be highly distributed geographically and American-sourced.
Aggressive decarbonization would benefit consumers, too. The report projects that the average household would save about $1,000–2,000 per year.