Environment Washington Research and Policy Center
Seattle, WA — Wind, solar, and other renewable sources now make up just about 10 percent of the nation’s energy mix, but transitioning to 100 percent clean energy is both necessary and feasible, experts said today.
“A 100 percent clean energy future isn’t only technically possible and imperative for slowing climate change,” said Bruce Speight with Environment Washington. “It will also ensure a more resilient electric grid and more stable economy.”
Today Environment Washington released a new white paper, We Have the Power: 100 Percent Renewable Energy for a Clean, Thriving America, which lays out the whys, wherefores, and how-tos for transforming the nation’s energy supply entirely to wind, solar, and other non-polluting sources.
The report came at the same time that a new Gallup poll showed Americans are more concerned about climate change today than ever before in the last eight years, and the U.S. mainland finished its warmest winter on record.
“To avoid dangerous global warming, scientists are clear that we must leave the vast majority of coal, oil and gas in the ground, and transition off fossil fuels before the middle of the century,” said Bruce Speight with Environment Washington. “The bad news is that we’re running out of time. The good news is that a future powered entirely by clean, renewable energy is well within reach.”
According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the United States has the technical potential to meet its current electricity needs more than 100 times over with solar energy and more than 10 times over with wind energy.
A review of seven detailed studies on clean energy systems conducted to date — by academics, government agencies and nonprofit organizations – suggests there are no insurmountable technological or economic barriers to tapping the country’s vast potential to achieve 100 percent renewable energy.
Economists predict that we can build a 100 percent renewable energy system at costs comparable to or less than what we would have to spend to continue our reliance on dirty energy.
“Dirty energy sources have no inherent economic advantage over renewable energy,” Tony Dutzik, researcher at the Frontier Group, who co-authored the white paper with Environment America, Environment Washington’s national federation. “On the contrary, expanding renewable energy creates local jobs that cannot be outsourced, reduces the impact of fossil fuel-induced harm to our environment and health, and safeguards the economy from the volatility of fossil fuel prices.”
In Paris in December 2015, the nations of the world made a historic commitment to protect our climate, pledging efforts “to limit [global] temperature increase to 1.5° C above pre-industrial levels.”
“By setting a course for 100 percent renewable energy, America can begin to reap benefits for our climate, our environment, our health and our economy that will last for generations,” said Travis Madsen of Environment America, the white paper’s lead author.
Environment Washington Research & Policy Center is a statewide advocacy organization bringing people together for a cleaner, greener, healthier future. www.EnvironmentWashingtoncenter.org.