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Professors Offer a Way to Renewable Energy for the U.S. by 2050

By Michael Keathley
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Stanford University engineering professor Mark Z. Jacobson and his colleagues have figured out how each state could use its available resources to achieve 100% clean, renewable energy by 2050. The plan calls for states to make use of wind, solar, geothermal, and hydroelectric energy.

The largest challenge with the plan is to get people and organizations to change. Therefore, the researchers took great care to examine areas such as cost and feasibility to show that economically and technologically, this massive climate solution is truly possible. In fact, some states, such as Washington, California, and South Dakota are already well on their way.

Stanford Engineers Develop State-by-State Plan to Convert U.S. to 100% Clean, Renewable Energy by 2050

By Bjorn Carey | Stanford News Service | June 8, 2015

Stanford Professor Mark Z. Jacobson and other researchers have calculated how to meet each state's new power demands using only the renewable energies – wind, solar, geothermal, hydroelectric, and tiny amounts of tidal and wave – available to each state.

One potential way to combat ongoing climate change, eliminate air pollution mortality, create jobs and stabilize energy prices involves converting the world's entire energy infrastructure to run on clean, renewable energy.

This is a daunting challenge. But now, in a new study, Mark Z. Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford, and colleagues, including U.C. Berkeley researcher Mark Delucchi, are the first to outline how each of the 50 states can achieve such a transition by 2050. The 50 individual state plans call for aggressive changes to both infrastructure and the ways we currently consume energy, but indicate that the conversion is technically and economically possible through the wide-scale implementation of existing technologies.

"The main barriers are social, political and getting industries to change. One way to overcome the barriers is to inform people about what is possible," said Jacobson, who is also a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and at the Precourt Institute for Energy. "By showing that it's technologically and economically possible, this study could reduce the barriers to a large scale transformation."

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