U.S. Could Pro­duce 100% of its Power from Re­new­ables Cheaper Than Fos­sil Fu­els

Trillions - - Content -

Amer­ica's dirty and ex­pen­sive car­bon and nu­clear cen­tral­ized power sys­tem is tech­no­log­i­cally, eco­nom­i­cally and en­vi­ron­men­tally ob­so­lete.

Ac­cord­ing to re­searchers at the Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Irvine; the Cal­i­for­nia In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy; and the Carnegie In­sti­tu­tion for Sci­ence, the U.S. could re­li­ably meet about 80% of its elec­tric­ity de­mand with solar and wind power gen­er­a­tion. 100% could be achieved if the en­ergy was stored or con­verted into hy­dro­gen.

“The sun sets, and the wind doesn’t al­ways blow,” noted Steven Davis, UCI as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor of Earth sys­tem sci­ence and co-au­thor of a re­new­able en­ergy study pub­lished in the jour­nal En­ergy & En­vi­ron­men­tal Sci­ence. “If we want a re­li­able power sys­tem based on these re­sources, how do we deal with their daily and sea­sonal changes?”

The team an­a­lyzed 36 years of hourly U.S. weather data (1980 to 2015) to un­der­stand the fun­da­men­tal geo­phys­i­cal bar­ri­ers to sup­ply­ing elec­tric­ity with only solar and wind en­ergy.

“The fact that we could get 80% of our power from wind and solar alone is re­ally en­cour­ag­ing,” he said. “Five years ago, many peo­ple doubted that these re­sources could ac­count for more than 20 or 30%.”

While some pro­pose ex­pand­ing the na­tional power trans­mis­sion sys­tem in or­der to move power from where it is be­ing pro­duced to where it is needed, the cost would be hun­dreds of bil­lions of dol­lars. But this is no longer nec­es­sary as new bat­tery and other stor­age tech­nol­ogy make it eco­nom­i­cally ad­van­ta­geous to sim­ply store en­ergy at each build­ing to store green power pro­duced on site or from the grid at off-peak hours.

Another way to ad­dress the vari­abil­ity of wind and solar is to convert it to another form. Many re­gions al­ready pro­duce sur­plus power from wind and solar and that power could be con­verted into hy­dro­gen and then piped un­der­ground to fuel gen­er­a­tors, fuel cells, ve­hi­cles and lo­co­mo­tives.

A windy state like Wy­oming which al­ready ex­ports wind power, could also ex­port hy­dro­gen through ex­ist­ing pipe­lines.

The United States also has mas­sive un­tapped po­ten­tial for hy­dro power with­out build­ing new dams. In-river hy­dro-ki­netic sys­tems gen­er­ate power with­out con­struct­ing costly and en­vi­ron­men­tally dam­ag­ing dams.

The eco­nomic, en­vi­ron­men­tal and so­cial ad­van­tages of a na­tional green en­ergy sys­tem are im­mense, yet cor­rup­tion, lack of aware­ness and lack of lead­er­ship pre­vent Amer­ica from mov­ing rapidly away from the dirty en­ergy that ben­e­fits a few while harm­ing the many.

An easy way for many to make the switch to clean smart en­ergy is to just let some­one else do it for you. Solar City and many other com­pa­nies can in­stall a turn-key sys­tem for your home or busi­ness for what you are al­ready pay­ing for dirty en­ergy.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.