Nick Fetty | June 10, 2015
Researchers at Stanford University and the University of California-Berkeley have developed a state-by-state plan for the United States to generate 100 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2050.
The study – which was published last month in the journal Energy and Environmental Sciences – calls for major changes to infrastructure as well as current energy consumption practices. The study’s authors outline ways to combat climate change, eliminate air pollution mortality, create jobs, and stabilize energy prices.
“The main barriers are social, political and getting industries to change. One way to overcome the barriers is to inform people about what is possible,” Stanford engineering professor Mark Z. Jacobson said in a press release. “By showing that it’s technologically and economically possible, this study could reduce the barriers to a large scale transformation.”
Jacobson – who also serves as a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and at the Precourt Institute for Energy – and his colleagues divided energy consumption into four categories: residential, commercial, industrial and transportation. The plan not only outlines ways to eliminate America’s dependence on oil and coal but also natural gas, nuclear power, carbon capture and sequestration, and biofuels.
The researchers predict that the plan could eliminate 63,000 air pollution-related deaths each year in United States and also save the world $3.3 trillion in damages caused by greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. In Iowa, the plan could save $3.5 billion in health care costs annually and also prevent 540 air pollution-related deaths each year.