By Jenna McGuire
Renewable technologies are also becoming more advanced, while costs are plummeting.
The United States 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 Thursday by Environment America Research & Policy Center and the Frontier Group.
The study, We Have the Power: Reaching America’s Potential for Clean, 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 renewable technologies are becoming more advanced, while costs are plummeting.
The research concluded that U.S. solar energy resources have the potential to meet America’s 2020 electricity demand more than 77 times over, and U.S. onshore and offshore wind resources could meet demand 11 times over.
“This report shows that between the sunshine and the wind, we have the potential to run our society on clean energy, today and in the future,” said Susan Rakov, chair of Environment America Research & Policy Center’s (EARPC) Clean Energy program.
The analysis identifies four key strategies that are crucial to transforming the nation’s energy system—building out 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 America shifts toward wind and solar will be decided by how and when we lean into fully erecting the four pillars outlined in this report,” said Emma Searson, 100% Renewable campaign director at EARPC. “Given the remarkable 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 widespread environmental destruction, according to the report.
The analysis highlights that a transition to emission-free energy would help 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 lawmakers 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 like the wind and sun.”
Jenna McGuire is an editorial assistant in the Common Dreams newsroom. Jenna joined Common Dreams in 2017 and works on all aspects of the site’s daily content operations. McGuire earned a degree in political science, sociology and women’s studies from Manhattanville College. Her first job in journalism was in New York City at Women’s Enews. She is particularly interested in food politics, the environment, US foreign policy, economic disparities, and feminism. An avid nature lover, she loves being by the ocean and her time with family and friends.
Image credit: FJavier GómezL, 2020