U.S. Could Use 80 Percent Green Energy by 2050
Wind, solar and other green energy could supply 80 percent of the U.S.' needs by 2050, even without any advances in technology, according to a new report from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Industry magazine IEEE Spectrum called the estimate a "remarkable endorsement" for investing in renewable energy.
Experts have worried in the past about finicky energy sources, such as the wind, which doesn't always blow, and the sun, which doesn't always shine. The new report found that wind and solar energies can nevertheless meet up to 50 percent of people's energy demands.
The U.S. also has enough manufacturing capability, materials and labor to reproduce the national lab's modeled future, the report said.
Nevertheless, there's a lot left to build to make that future happen. The U.S. would have to install offshore wind turbines and biomass power plants, which don't exist today. It would also need to manufacture transmission lines, solar cells and wind turbines at a continuous clip. For example, the country would have to install 2,500 to 3,000 new wind turbines every year for the next 40 years, IEEE Spectrum estimated.
It's uncertain whether the U.S. will actually build all those technologies, IEEE reported, but at least the latest report shows a far cleaner, greener future is possible.
Source: IEEE Spectrum