If the U.S simply committed to building out the transmission infrastructure, the Department of Energy (DOE) believes that currently existing renewable energy technology “is more than adequate” to supply up to 80 percent of the nation’s daily electricity use by the year 2050, a new study has found.
Put together by the DOE’s National Renewable Energy Labratory, the study is the largest-ever to examine the nation’s potential renewable energy capacity. It predicts that while fossil and nuclear fuels will still be needed in 2050, they won’t continue to supply the more than 60 percent of America’s energy they do today.
The U.S. Energy Information Center noted that in the 12 months ending in March 2012, coal, natural gas and nuclear were still by far the most relied-upon sources of power, with coal coming out on top, accounting for more than 40 percent of U.S. electricity generation. But provided the U.S. has the political will and the private sector motivation to build out the transmission grid, the DOE believes wind power will become a dominant a force in the U.S. energy market.
Combined with solar, the two technologies could supply up to 50 percent of daily U.S. electricity use on their own, the study found. The DOE also noted that all regions of the U.S. have roughly equivalent opportunity for renewable energy exploration, with offshore areas being prime real estate for wind energy generation.
The greatest challenge foreseen by the study is growing the transmission capabilities for wind energy, which must expand beyond 439 gigawatts [from the present 50] if the DOE’s numbers are to ever be fulfilled.Read it at Raw Story
Study: Renewable sources could supply 80% of U.S. electricity by 2050
by Stephen C. Webster