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