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Stanford study: Renewables-Only World Very Feasible

December 13th, 2021 | By Roger Kuznia

Hope for an energy grid completely powered by renewable energy may seem unreachable, given our current heavy reliance on fossil-fueled sources and the fear that renewables wouldn’t generate energy consistently enough to ensure grid stability. But a new study from Stanford University indicates that such a world is far from far-fetched.

Stanford’s researchers found that a grid running on wind, water and solar + storage would avoid blackouts and would create millions of jobs, improve people’s health, reduce land requirements to produce that energy and perhaps most importantly, lower energy costs for consumers.

The Stanford researchers looked 30 years into the future and ran projections in a world filled with cars and trucks powered by electricity or hydrogen fuel cells, wind and solar resources taking the place of coal and natural gas and electric heat pumps replacing gas furnaces and water heaters.

With nearly 20% of the nation’s electricity already coming from wind, water and solar sources, with automakers poised to go all in on electric cars, and with so many companies and cities committing to powering their respective entities with 100% renewable energy in the not-too-distant future, you can see how this is all possible.

The Stanford researchers looked at how to meet “continuous energy demand every 30 seconds for two years.” Simulations were ran for Alaska, Hawaii (chosen because of their isolation), California, Texas, New York and Florida (chosen because they’re large states in different areas of the country), along with “interconnected electricity grid regions in the U.S., and the contiguous U.S. as a whole.”

What they found is exciting. Per the researchers:

“…Per capita household annual energy costs were nearly 63% less than in a business as usual scenario. In some states, costs dropped as much as 79%. The investment cost to transition everything in the U.S. ranges from near $9 to $11 trillion, depending on how much interconnection of regions occurs. However, this pays for itself through energy sales and from the cost savings each year compared with not transitioning. In fact, based on energy cost savings alone, the payback time may be as short as five years.”

Other key findings of the report:

  • This grid made up of only renewables may create about 4.7 million long-term, full-time jobs (a number that includes the energy sector itself as well as indirect employment at stores, restaurants, etc.).
  • Cleaner air resulting from this renewable energy use would cut the number of pollution-related deaths by more than 53,000 and spare millions more from pollution-related illnesses – saving about $700 billion in health care costs.
  • Long-duration batteries weren’t either needed or helpful to maintain grid stability. Currently available battery technology that provides four hours of backup power would do that. In addition, linking all those batteries together to discharge simultaneously during times of peak demand would help to meet large peak needs.
  • Less land would be needed for the needs of these renewables than the current footprint of the fossil fuel industry.

All fascinating points, which lead to this final one — we all must do our part to accelerate the world’s transition to clean energy. We can’t wait 30 years for this changeover to happen. Solar energy + storage is a part of our future, so why not put your own energy future in your hands?

Pink Energy can help you get there. Call us today to see if your home qualifies for solar.

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