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CLIMATE ACTION PROGRAMME

9 July 2015

$15tr plan for 100% renewables in U.S.

Leading scientists have published a plan for the United States to source all of its energy from renewables by 2050 at a cost of $15 trillion.

The Solution Project was written by climate and energy experts including Mark Jacobson, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University, and the plan is based on the capability of existing technology wind and solar energy as well as hydropower.

The plan tailors the composition of clean energy sources to the specific geography and environment of each state.

As an example, the plan suggests that South Dakota would get 60 per cent of its energy from inland wind power, with Alabama only getting 5 per cent from the same source.

Under the plan, half of the country’s energy would come from wind, 45 per cent from solar, and the remaining from hydro and geothermal sources.

The estimated $15 trillion cost only covers the construction of energy infrastructure to supply the existing energy needs of the nation, and assumes that energy intensive technology, including cars, will convert being fully electric.

Jacobson said: “WWS is much cheaper over all. [When you take into account] all the health and climate costs, it costs about 17 cents per kilowatt hour. Fossil fuel costs 30 cents per kilowatt hour, when externality costs are included.”

The U.S. federal government has spent an average of $39 billion annually from 2010 to 2015 on renewable energy, with solar generating 0.6 per cent of the nation’s electricity.

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