Imagine a future in which the majority of energy used in the U.S. is clean and renewable.
It isn’t a concept that depends on undeveloped future technology, a new report from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory suggests. The report claims that 80 percent of U.S. energy could come from low carbon sources by 2050 using nothing but today’s commercially available technology.
Though, that’s not to say it actually will happen. The report sets out to show that modern technology is enough to have a realistic, majority clean energy economy. Of course, by the year 2050, new technologies will come along and public sentiment in one direction or the other will affect the ultimate outcome of what the 2050 will look like in reality.
According to the report, the clean energy in an ideal 2050 would be composed of 35 percent wind power, 20 percent biomass and 10 percent hydropower and solar, with the rest comprised of natural gas and geothermal energy.
Each area of the United States has energy to contribute, the report says. In this scenario, desert areas contribute sun to solar energy, agricultural areas contribute biomass and windy cities produce wind energy.
The authors of the repor tcontend that 80 percent is reasonably doable in the next few decades as long as commercial and social attitudes toward energy change. We can’t stick with the same old, same old, the report concludes. We need to branch out of our energy comfort zone and explore the more expensive, but more efficient options.