A US government agency has found renewable energy could become the country’s major energy source in two decades.
Scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) compared the geography of electricity demand with potential supply from solar and wind resources. They concluded 70% of US electricity demand in 2030 could be met by wind and solar as well as 15% from hydroelectric and nuclear, leaving only 15% of power dependent on fossil fuels.
The NOAA analysis joins a growing number of studies concluding renewable energy can repower at least some of the world within decades:
- Stanford University researchers Mark Jacobson and Mark Delucchi found 100% of the world’s energy could be met by wind, water, and solar sources by 2050.
- A report commissioned by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) demonstrated the world could get 100% of its energy from renewables by 2050.
- The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded renewables could meet up to 77% of the world’s energy by 2050.
- The European Renewable Energy Council (EREC) showed Europe could meet 100% of its energy needs from renewables by 2050.
- The Zero Carbon Australia 2020 Stationary Energy Plan by Beyond Zero Emissions demonstrated 100% of Australia’s energy could come from renewables as soon as 2020 (60% from solar thermal with storage, 40% from wind).
The new NOAA study is particularly notable in that it comes from one of the world’s most fossil-fuel-addicted governments.
To avoid dangerous global warming, we urgently need to shift our global energy system from fossil fuels to renewable sources. All these studies are telling us we can make this transition if we put our minds to it. It’s time to get on with it.