Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Ditching Fossil Fuels and Switching to 100% Renewables No Problem, Says Stanford Study

Business
Ditching Fossil Fuels and Switching to 100% Renewables No Problem, Says Stanford Study

Is it possible for the U.S. to ditch fossil fuels? The answer is yes, according to researchers and engineers from Stanford University and U.C. Berkeley, who have developed a state-by-state plan to convert the country to 100 percent renewable energy in less than 40 years.

Stanford researchers have a developed 50-state roadmap to a clean, renewable energy future.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock

The study, published in the Energy and Environmental Sciences, showcases how each state can replace fossil fuels by tapping into renewable resources available in each state, such as wind, solar, geothermal, hydroelectric, and even small amounts of tidal and wave power.

The report, led by Stanford civil and environmental engineering professor Mark Z. Jacobson and U.C. Berkeley researcher Mark Delucchi, argues that converting the current energy infrastructure into renewable energy will help fight climate change, save lives by eliminating air pollution, create jobs and also stabilize energy prices.

You can check out an interactive map summarizing the plans for each state at The Solutions Project, an organization of scientists, business leaders and other forward-thinking minds with a mission of accelerating the world's transition to 100 percent clean, renewable energy.

The project's concept has attracted high-profile funders including the Elon Musk Foundation and Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, according to The Plaid Zebra.

The Elon Musk Foundation and Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation are helping to fund this project.

Board members of The Solutions Project include notable environmental advocates including filmmaker and founder of the the International WOW Company Josh Fox, co-founder and president of Mosaic Billy Parish, and actor and noted environmentalist Mark Ruffalo.

Undoubtedly, the plan involves a lot of difficult and expensive changes, but the authors believe that the complete transition to renewables is economically and technically viable.

"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," Jacobson said. "By showing that it's technologically and economically possible, this study could reduce the barriers to a large scale transformation."

Read page 1

According to a news release, the study's authors examined each state's current energy usage in four sectors: residential, commercial, industrial and transportation. For each sector, they then analyzed the current amount and source of the fuel consumed—coal, oil, gas, nuclear and renewables—and calculated what the fuel demands would be if replaced with electricity. (This includes all the cars on the road becoming electric, as well as homes and businesses fully converting to electric heating and cooling systems). They then calculated how this new electric grid could be powered using only renewable energy resources available in each state.

"When we did this across all 50 states, we saw a 39 percent reduction in total end-use power demand by the year 2050," Jacobson said. "About 6 percentage points of that is gained through efficiency improvements to infrastructure, but the bulk is the result of replacing current sources and uses of combustion energy with electricity."

Check out South Carolina, for instance (you can see the infographics for the other 49 states here):

Not only is a fossil fuel-free South Carolina possible, doing so would create nearly 100,000 clean-energy jobs. Photo Credit: The Solutions Project

The good news is that several states are already on their way. For example, Washington state already meets 70 percent of its current electricity needs from existing hydroelectric sources.

Yes, the upfront cost of the massive conversion would be expensive, however the study's authors argue it would even out over time and the environmental benefits are clear.

"When you account for the health and climate costs—as well as the rising price of fossil fuels—wind, water and solar are half the cost of conventional systems," Jacobson said. "A conversion of this scale would also create jobs, stabilize fuel prices, reduce pollution-related health problems and eliminate emissions from the United States. There is very little downside to a conversion, at least based on this science."

Check out Jacobson's 2013 appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman, where he explains his plan of transitioning the country to clean energy.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Hawaii Enacts Nation’s First 100% Renewable Energy Standard

12 Reasons Why Solar Is Having an Explosive Year

We Could Power Entire World on Renewables by 2025, Says Global Apollo Program

Marsh Creek in north-central California is the site of restoration project that will increase residents' access to their river. Amy Merrill

By Katy Neusteter

The Biden-Harris transition team identified COVID-19, economic recovery, racial equity and climate change as its top priorities. Rivers are the through-line linking all of them. The fact is, healthy rivers can no longer be separated into the "nice-to-have" column of environmental progress. Rivers and streams provide more than 60 percent of our drinking water — and a clear path toward public health, a strong economy, a more just society and greater resilience to the impacts of the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A Brood X cicada in 2004. Pmjacoby / CC BY-SA 3.0

Fifteen states are in for an unusually noisy spring.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A creative depiction of bigfoot in a forest. Nisian Hughes / Stone / Getty Images

Deep in the woods, a hairy, ape-like man is said to be living a quiet and secluded life. While some deny the creature's existence, others spend their lives trying to prove it.

Read More Show Less
President of the European Investment Bank Werner Hoyer holds a press conference in Brussels, Belgium on Jan. 30, 2020. Dursun Aydemir / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

By Jon Queally

Noted author and 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben was among the first to celebrate word that the president of the European Investment Bank on Wednesday openly declared, "To put it mildly, gas is over" — an admission that squares with what climate experts and economists have been saying for years if not decades.

Read More Show Less

A dwarf giraffe is seen in Uganda, Africa. Dr. Michael Brown, GCF

Nine feet tall is gigantic by human standards, but when researcher and conservationist Michael Brown spotted a giraffe in Uganda's Murchison Falls National Park that measured nine feet, four inches, he was shocked.

Read More Show Less