It will be feasible to power the US on 90% clean electricity by 2035 thanks to stunning declines in the costs of renewables, a new study finds.
Until recently, climate experts projected that it wouldn’t be possible to decarbonize the electric grid until 2050 - and that moving to fully renewable energy could raise the price of electricity for consumers.
But the cost of wind, solar, and battery storage has fallen so quickly that in just 15 years, it's fathomable that the U.S. could run on 90% clean electricity with no increase in electric bills, creating more than half a million new jobs each year in the process.
By 2045, the entire electric grid could run on renewables!
Understandably, this would be a huge task - to achieve 90% clean status, the U.S. would have to build 1,100GW of new wind and solar capacity in the next 15 years.
That averages to roughly 70GW worth of deployments per year, more than triple the combined wind and solar additions completed in any one year to date.
Clean energy does continuously outperform expert expectations; even so, 70GW a year is an unprecedented lift.
The study comes with a companion piece by think tank Energy Innovation that lays out precisely what policies are needed to reach 90 percent clean - a really interesting read.
Passing federal policy as soon as possible would be a huge step in the right direction but at the same time, the scale-up of potential deployment within the renewable energy industry will be important to pay attention to - clearing the barriers to a doubling or tripling of annual renewable deployment by streamlining permitting and interconnection and clarifying market rules, including how state clean energy policies and federal regulations interact.
This is an unprecedented opportunity - the technology is ready for large-scale deployment at exactly the moment when the U.S. is poised to make large investments in infrastructure to help the economy recover from the COVID-19 crisis.
And Hyperion is ready to do our part - we are a specialist executive search firm working with the most innovative cleantech companies in the US to find exceptional senior level talent
We are committed to supporting clean technologies that change the way we live, eat, work, travel, and make things so we can avoid the most devastating impacts of climate change.
To learn more about our track record, please visit here.
We wanted to look at how quickly could we replace the existing polluting generation with zero-carbon generation without raising electricity bills at all for customers,” says Sonia Aggarwal, vice president at the nonprofit Energy Innovation, who served on the technical review committee for the new report from the University of California, Berkeley. “I didn’t expect that we were going to get 90% by 2035. It’s really exciting that this is the moment that we’ve reached in this country, where the costs have just changed so much that this is now within our reach, in a way that it wasn’t even five years ago.”