by Matt Toussaint
Presently, the US economy generates 3.6% of its energy from renewable resources; by 2050 that number could be 80%. From an energy futures study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL):
“The central conclusion of the analysis is that renewable electricity generation from technologies that are commercially available today, in combination with a more flexible electric system, is more than adequate to supply 80% of total U.S. electricity generation in 2050 while meeting electricity demand on an hourly basis in every region of the United States.”
We have the technology. The concept or vision of creating a nationwide, renewable energy-based economy is greening its way into the mainstream. But in order to meet the projections purported by this study, it would require nothing short of a complete infrastructural overhaul of the current energy system. Regardless of how hot or cool corporate-political climates measure up to making this happen, rebuilding the electrical system is itself a major undertaking that would likely require as much support on all social fronts. But it is possible.
And while the report focuses on electrical power, it makes no mention of fossil fuel. Still, it’s a nod towards the potential of renewable resources replacing coal-based hydroelectricity. Read the full report here.