Okay, hear us out.
A recent report in Energy and Environmental Science showed that a conversion to an 80 percent solar and wind-based energy system is possible in the United States.
The catch? It would require hundreds of billions of dollars worth of investment in energy storage technology and renewable energy infrastructure. And while scientists aren’t exactly optimistic this funding is possible with our current political gridlock, the report is significant in that it further highlights the need for nationally implemented and financially viable renewable energy options — sooner, rather than later.
Ultimately, the study highlights the need for cheap energy storage solutions as a prerequisite for transitioning to a majority renewable energy grid in the US. Musk’s foray into ultra-efficient battery production with the Gigafactory is a step in that direction, but will not be nearly enough to support a robust renewable economy. In the meantime, the researchers say low-carbon-emission sources of energy, such as nuclear power, will be necessary to keep the lights on in the US.
“The fact that we could get 80 percent of our power from wind and solar alone is really encouraging,” Steven Davis, an associate professor of Earth system science at UC Irvine said. “Five years ago, many people doubted that these resources could account for more than 20 or 30 percent.”
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