Has anyone heard of the Solutions Project?
A professor named Mark Jacobson from the University of Stanford has documented a feasible plan to reach 100% clean renewable energy by 2050 in the US. It involves replacing all fossil fuel-based energy with renewables built with new age technology, installed and controlled on a smart grid. Priced at nearly $6.3 trillion that will take over two decades to pay back, this project is an expensive one. However, the trillions of dollars that will be saved by ceasing fossil fuel production will help fund the Solutions Project.
The project aims to reduce the detrimental effects of climate change through renewable energy. By 2030, the US should have replaced 50% of energy sources with renewables. By 2050, the US will rely on 100% clean, renewable energy (RE) for all purposes. The goal is to build 100% of 6,448GW of RE by 2050, with 50% completed by 2030. Wind and Solar will account for 99% of all RE. More precisely, nearly 4,000 GW PV-solar (62%) , 2,421 GW Wind (37%), and 61 GW of new Hydro+Geo+Wave+Tidal (1%).
Converting to a new, renewable energy economy
Building 488 gigafactories by 2030 is a big part of the equation. A gigafactory is a wind or solar factory that builds 1 GW/ year of nameplate capacity. Solar City is building a solar panel gigafactory in Buffalo, NY, with production scheduled for 2017. Moreover, homeowners and business owners in the US have set a record year for using less of the electrical grid and switching to solar.
An effort towards producing cars, trucks, and trains that are powered by electricity will also be a big contributing factor. Sustainable air and sea travel remains a challenge. Algae-biofuels or cryo-H2 might help the cause but it will take some technical breakthroughs to solve.
Smart grids with storage capacities will be necessary to handle intermittent RE sources. Although geothermal, wave, and hydro will only account for one percent of sustainable energy, it will still require a large investment.
The conversion will not be easy and it will demand an abundance of diligent changes. Changes in our political policies, economic sectors, and social means. Regardless, the solution has been thought out and presented. The need is urgent, whether the plan is executed or not is up to our world leaders.