Wood MacKenzie recently published a study outlining the specific steps that would need to be taken in the next 10 years in order to accomplish a fully renewable energy grid here in the United States. Their article can be accessed here https://www.woodmac.com/news/feature/deep-decarbonisation-the-multi-trillion-dollar-question
The price tag of this ambitious endeavor including grid-level storage and eliminating nuclear plants is $4.5 trillion. This figure is not unattainable, there are several ways to put that into perspective. It is roughly equal to the annual federal budget. It is roughly equal to what we have spent on the “War on Terror” since 2001. It is $165 per household per month over the next 10 years.
Currently about 30% of our domestic energy use is through the electrical grid. The job of going 100% renewable on the electric grid is also made more challenging if we can rapidly shift the 30% of the energy we use for transportation away from nearly all petroleum to nearly all electricity. To maintain perspective, we find it helpful to review the Lawrence Livermore Labs energy charts, recently updated for 2018, see below.
The economic benefits of such an investment would be tremendous. As with solar on rooftops, once the investment is made, the ongoing cost of energy is very, very low (some people say “free”, I don’t agree.) The real world benefits of such a move would be to remove out electricity sector’s contribution to pollution both in terms of carbon, and the smog from nitrogen oxides, and sulfur, mercury and other poisonous emissions from fossil fuel consumption. There is no doubt in my mind that this is a goal we must pursue as quickly as possible, for many reasons.
Of note, Washington’s Gov Jay Inslee shares our perspective and has a very high energy literacy. He has a detailed and credible plan to implement much of what the Woods Mackenzie report outlines, while also analyzing the job creation benefits at the same time. It is worthwhile to take a close look at Gov Inslee’s vision here https://jayinslee.com/issues/evergreen-economy
While these national policy goals are important to consider, we prefer to spend our days installing solar on rooftops here on the Olympic Peninsula. It is something that we can feel good about every day, knowing we are helping our clients save money, decrease their contribution to pollution, and take steps towards a cleaner future.