Energy [R]evolution Can Get US to 100% Renewable Energy

In 2010, Greenpeace and the European Renewable Energy Council released Energy [R]evolution, which showed how the world could transition to 95% renewable energy by 2050.

Now, they have issued the same report, but focusing only on the US – a blueprint for reaching 100% renewable energy (without nuclear) by 2050 in electricity, heating and transportation. Doing so would create 1.5 million jobs related to energy alone. 

The plan would bring US carbon emissions down 39% by 2025 (-27% under 1990), 60% in 2030 (-48% under 1990) and 97% by 2050. Rapid changes in the way we produce, distribute, and consume energy are indeed possible and cost effective, they say.

"Growing concerns about climate change and air pollution, along with quickly falling costs of renewable energy, are already upending the utility industry’s business model and threatening to turn fossil fuel reserves into stranded assets. Rapid changes in the energy sector could expand dramatically," says Sven Teske at Greenpeace International.Energy Revolution

It rests on 5 key principles:

  • Implement renewable solutions, especially through decentralized energy systems – where power and heat are produced close to the point of final use – and smart grid expansions that can transport large amounts of concentrating solar and offshore wind
  • Respect the natural limits of the environment

  • Phase out dirty, unsustainable energy sources

  • Create greater equity in the use of resources
  • Decouple economic growth from the consumption of fossil fuels

Local, state, or federal policies necessary:

1. Abolish all subsidies for fossil fuels and nuclear – the End Polluter Welfare Act, introduced by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) is an example of federal action that must move forward.

2. Internalize the currently socialized cost of industrial climate pollution, such as with a national carbon tax.

3. Mandate strict efficiency standards for all energy consuming appliances, buildings and vehicles.

4. Establish legally binding targets for renewable energy and combined heat and power generation.

5. Reform electricity markets by guaranteeing priority access to the grid for renewable power generators.

6. Provide defined and stable returns for investors, for example by feed-in tariff programs.

7. Implement better labeling and disclosure mechanisms to provide more environmental product information.

8. Increase research and development budgets for renewable energy and energy efficiency.

A similar report was released in 2012, from the US government’s National Renewable Energy Lab, showing how renewable energy can supply 80% of US electricity by 2050.

Read the Executive Summary of Energy [R]evolution:

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