The U.S. has the resources and technology to shift away from fossil fuels and build an energy system entirely run on renewables, according to a new report released on 3 June by the Environment America Research & Policy Center and the Frontier Group.
The study, We Have the Power: Reaching America’s Potential for Clean and Renewable Energy, finds that not only does the U.S. currently have more than enough wind and solar resources to meet all of its energy needs, but that renewable technologies are becoming more advanced, while costs are plummeting.
The research concluded that U.S. solar energy resources possess the potential to have met America’s 2020 electricity demand more than 77 times over, and that U.S. onshore and offshore wind resources could have met demand 11 times over.
“This report shows that between sun- shine and wind, there is the potential to run our society on clean energy, today and in the future,” said Susan Rakov,, chair of the Environment America Research & Policy Center’s (EARPC) Clean Energy program.
The analysis identifies four key strategies crucial to transforming the nation’s energy system – building renewable energy, modernizing the grid, reducing and managing energy use, and replacing direct uses of fossil fuels with electricity to take advantage of clean technologies.
“How quickly the U.S. can shift toward wind and solar will be decided by how and when we fully erect the four pillars outlined in this report,” said Emma Searson (100% Renewable campaign director at EARPC). “Given the remark- able technological advances and progress we’ve made so far, we should feel confident in our ability to build each and every one of them.”
Coal, oil, and gas are responsible for 80% of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, hundreds of thousands of annual U.S deaths from air pollution and also widespread environmental destruction, according to the report.
The analysis highlights that a transition to emission-free energy would help to alleviate some of America’s most urgent environmental and public health challenges and help slow the acceleration of the climate crisis.
The report calls on state and federal legislators to make bold commitments to a 100% clean and renewable energy future and ensure those goals are accomplished through the backing of financial and regulatory policies.
“Time is of the essence,” reads the report. “Policymakers must do all they can to accelerate a shift away from fossil fuels to an energy system in which the vast majority of our energy comes from renewable sources.”
Source: Common Dreams, 3 June 2021
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