Renewable Energy Growing Fast, But Still A Tiny Percentage

Renewable energy is still only 2.3% of the U.S. energy production. David Biello asks, can renewables be ramped up in time to combat global warming?
January 20, 2011, 1pm PST | Tim Halbur
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Biello finds that even if the drive was there to ramp up production, logistical and land use complications will hamper fast and widespread growth of renewables:

"If 10 percent of the U.S. electricity generated in 2009... were to be produced by large wind farms, their area would have to cover at least 22,500 square kilometers, roughly the size of New Hampshire," writes environmental scientist Vaclav Smil of the University of Manitoba in his book, Energy at the Crossroads. "These new energy infrastructures would have to be spread over areas ten to a thousand times larger than today's infrastructure of fossil fuel extraction, combustion and electricity generation . This is not an impossible feat, but one posing many regulatory, technical and logistic challenges."

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Published on Thursday, January 20, 2011 in Yale Environment 360
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