California has the Potential to Power Itself Solely by Renewables

The new paper, "A Roadmap for Repowering California for all Purposes with Wind, Water, and Sunlight," discusses the potential clean energy future for the Golden State by 2050.
August 7, 2014, 10am PDT | Maayan Dembo | @DJ_Mayjahn
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According to a recent paper co-authored by Stanford professor Mark Jacobson, and published in Energy, California could utilize its abundant sunshine, on and off-shore winds, tides, and waves, along with geothermal heat to completely remove its reliance on fossil fuels. As John Upton writes in Pacific Standard Magazine,

“Electric cars and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles would be recharged using the renewable electricity supplies... By 2030, 80 to 85 percent of the state’s current energy supply would be replaced with clean sources. And starting in 2050, the state wouldn’t need to burn another drip of oil, hunk of coal, or molecule of natural gas—and the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant wouldn’t be needed.

As written in Jacobson's paper, shifting power sources would create hundreds of thousands of more jobs than it would sacrifice. In addition, the plan would save more than 10,000 lives and $100 billion in health care costs associated with pollution. Although the $1.1 trillion price tag for new renewable energy facilities seems alarming, these costs would be more than offset in the long term via climate benefits and fuel savings.

Jacobson also outlined a similar energy plan for New York State, and a broader vision for the entire world.

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Published on Thursday, July 31, 2014 in Pacific Standard
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