Plummeting Costs of Renewable Energy and Battery Can Hasten Decarbonisation

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A report published in June 2020 by the Goldman School of Public Policy shows how the United States, the 2nd biggest CO2 emitter in the world, can achieve 90 per cent clean and carbon-free electricity by 2035. 

The report says that most studies say that sectors will be fully decarbonised by 2050, but with the plummeting costs of solar, wind, and batteries plummeting, it will speed up clean energy transition by 2035 instead of 2050. This transformation to clean electricity is attainable without additional cost to consumers. Battery capacity will also make it feasible and allow an increased share of wind and solar energy into the electricity grids.

To achieve the 90% clean electricity, the US power sector needs to invest US$1.7 in solar and wind energy and support 500 thousand energy jobs each year, and reduce emissions by 27%.  The 90 per cent transformation will provide clean energy, retire existing coal plants by 2035, and lower power generation from natural gas by to 70 per cent. With 90 per cent clean energy, this future will also prevent 85 thousand premature deaths by 2050, the report says.

Why 90 per cent?

“The 90 % clean grid is dependable without coal plants or new natural gas plants.” The combination of all existing hydropower, nuclear source, natural gas capacity, and battery storage – these energy sources combined plus the 90 per cent from clean energy into the grid will be enough to meet the US electricity demand in 2035.  Wind, solar, and batteries will provide 70% of annual generation, while hydropower and nuclear will generate 20 per cent. The remaining 10% will come from natural gas.

The report is telling us that decarbonisation is possible and can take us half the time than was previously thought. With robust policies and investments in clean energy, a decarbonised economy is both economically and technologically feasible and viable.

The short promotional video below tells more about the report.

To read the entire report, click the link below:

Source Citation:

Plummeting Solar, Wind, and Battery Costs Can Accelerate Our Clean Electricity Future. (2020 June). Goldman School of Public Policy. [Report]. The University of California Berkley. Retrieved from

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