The Union of Concerned Scientists believes that America can produce 23% of its electrical energy needs through renewable means by the year 2030, according to a recent article on CleanTechnica's website. The study was conducted in response to the Environmental Protection Agency’s recent proposition that Americans should aim to produce only 12% of their electrical energy through renewable and non-hydro means in the coming years. Senior Climate Economist, Rachel Cleetus believes that the proposed 23% goal could be achieved for the low cost of “18 cents per month” per American household (Solar-EnergyNext). Cleetus dismisses the EPA’s low expectations, stating, “…the way renewable energy is ramping up and costs are falling dramatically, there is a real opportunity to go farther (Hale).”
The study focused on how much renewable energy states had already created in the past five years. The Union of Concerned Scientists’ findings assert that the national average growth rate of renewable energies has been 1% over these past five years. This means every state should meet (if not exceed) this 1% of growth by 2020 (Hale). Rachel Cleetus seems to have no doubts about the Union’s findings.
“Wall Street articles from Bloomberg New Energy Finance and Goldman Sachs are predicting renewable energy, particularly solar, is where the growth is going to be, it’s no longer simply about competition between coal and natural gas.” Cleetus continued to explain. “Never mind the environmental considerations, which are very important, just from a market perspective we are probably going to see a very rapid scale up in renewables. The question is, will it happen fast enough and at the scale that we need it to from a climate perspective (Hale).”
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory recently did a study showing that 80% of the US could be powered by renewable sources by 2050, using only technologies available today such as solar power (Hale). So it would seem that the question of America’s future in renewable energy is not whether it is going to be affordable or technologically feasible. The real question is how long are Americans willing to wait for the country to become independent from foreign oil. How long are Americans willing to wait to strictly utilize our own abundance of natural resources by embracing solar and other renewable energy technologies? Only time will tell.