U.S. Think Tank
Switching the U.S. economy to run on renewable energies could save money and reduce pollution, with visible benefits within a decade, says a national think tank.
If prices for fossil fuels remain high and the cost of producing renewables continues to drop in line with historical trends, the U.S. could source 25% of its electricity from green power and 25% of its transportation fuels from green fuels by 2005 at little or no additional cost, concludes Rand Corporation in 'Impacts on U.S. Energy Expenditures of Increasing Renewable Energy Use.' The report was commissioned by the Energy Future Coalition of Washington.
Currently, 6% of energy in the U.S. comes from renewables; if hydropower is excluded, the share drops to 3%. The study evaluates the '25x25' goal, which refers to sourcing 25% of green power and green fuels by 2025, and the data was modelled 1,500 times to assess the probability of different outcomes basd on different assumptions on the pace of technological change and prices.
It does not consider the impact of green heat technologies for space conditioning. Renewables lower total energy expenditures in "virtually all cases in which current energy price and technology cost trends continue," and expanded use of renewables "could be achieved at acceptable costs," the study states.
"Shifting to renewables had adverse impacts on total energy expenditures in cases when fossil fuel prices are lower than current forecasted projections; costs of renewable energy technologies increase or decline less than historical trends as renewables use scales up, and non-renwable technology costs drop relative to the cost of renewables, the reverse of what has tended to occur as renewable technologies improve."
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